Posts Tagged ‘transparency


Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding

John Locke
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

•    Abstract General Ideas→ general terms
o    AGIs rather than anything in the world
o    Form AGIs by noticing similarities between ideas
•    Cartesians calls AGIs essence
•    Corpuscular Hypothesis: “new mechanistic science”
o    All events and states in the natural world can be explained with reference to the size, shape, and motion of corpuscules (reality)
•    Boyle
•    Demonstration is reasoning out a proof
o    Each step must be an intuition—depends on intuitive knowledge
•    Essence: quality of something that made is so (knife’s essence = ability to cut)
o    Descartes: 2 essences in the world: thought (essence of mind) and extension (essence of body)
•    Intuition is the highest form of knowledge: mind perceives connections
•    New Mechanistic Science: all explanation can be given in terms of matter and motion
•    Sensitive knowledge: lowest form of knowledge—doesn’t even count
•    Transparency of the Mental: nothing can be in our mind without our being aware of it
•    Veil of Perception: out perception of the world is indirect, filtered through a medium of ideas
•    Essay responds to two schools of thought
o    Aristotelian-influences Scholasticism (“nothing in the intellect, not first in the senses)
o    Cartesian Rationalism (“no trusting the senses until they have been verified by the intellect”)
•    “Of innate ideas” = against he possibility of innate propositional knowledge (whatever is, is) and argues against the possibility of innate ideas (idea of God)
•    Origins of Knowledge are from experience
•    Everything in our mind is an idea that takes one of two routes:
o    Come through senses
o    Come through the mind’s reflection on its own operation
•    Ideas: simple or complex (simple → complex)
•    Knowledge is the perception of strong internal relations that hold among the ideas themselves, without any reference to the external world
•    Four sorts of relations between ideas that would count as knowledge:
o    Identity/diversity
o    Relation
o    Coexistence
o    Actual existence
•    Warns: as good as our opinions becomes, never going to reach the level of knowledge
•    Primary Qualities: ideas which resemble their causes
o    Texture, number, size, shape, motion
•    Secondary Qualities: Ideas which don’t resemble their causes
o    Color, sound, taste, odor
•    Regarding memory: which ideas are best remembered—names the defects of memory
o    Since all mental items must be conscious, there isn’t much room allowed for memory
o    For Locke, memory isn’t literally a place where ideas are stored, but refers ot a power of the mind to revive perceptions it once had
•    Contrary to popular belief, we don’t know bodies better than we know the mind—we only know the observable qualities
•    Knowledge is “the perception by reason of the connection and agreement or repulsion and disagreement between any two or more ideas.”
o    To count as knowledge, connection between ideas must be very strong
•    Knowledge of existence in three parts:
o    Ourselves by intuition
o    God by demonstration
o    External world by resembling the world as we think it is
•    Judgment is a faculty concerned with identifying the truth/falsehoods of propositions
o    Based on probability (≠ knowledge based on intuition and demonstration)

(Thanks to Spark Notes for some invaluable assistance!)


Warnick’s Critical Literacy in a Digital Era

Barbara Warnick
Critical Literacy in a Digital Era: Technology, Rhetoric, and the Public Interest
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

• How persuasive discourse about technology affects how we think about it
• If reading viewing, and browsing publics unquestioningly buy into predicting and ideologies in media discourse, then the beliefs embedded in it won’t be subject to public discussion and critical examination
• Critical literacy: communicating about communication
• Aural/Oral: incorporate specific abilities and competencies
• Rhetorical Criticism: concerned with how the messages are designed for audiences and how they are intended to have an effect
o How message content can contribute/detract from credibility
o How communities of interest are constructed through shared values and ways of speaking
• Selfe: technology + democracy (+capitalism) = progress
o Bolter and Grusin: “That digital media can reform and even save society reminds us of the promise that has been made for technologies throughout much of the twentieth century: it is a peculiarly, if not exclusively, American promise. American culture seems to believe in technology in a way that European culture, for example, may not… In America…collective (and perhaps even personal) salvation has been thought to come through technology rather than through political or even religious action” (60-1).
• Transparency: user forgets/is unaware of the presence of the medium
• WIRED: Technological hierarchy
o Should instead open discussion to all voices
• Need for a counter-narrative
4: “Burke noted that the ‘hierarchic principle’—the desire to transcend one’s present condition and move upward in the social hierarchy—is ‘inevitable in systematic thought.’ The promise of nearly unlimited technological advancement implies the potential for continuous self- and social improvement and upward mobility.”
15: “The New London Group defined critical framing (an important component of critical literacy) as the ability of audiences and readers to ‘gain the necessary personal and theoretical distance from what they have learned, constructively critique it, account for its cultural location, [and] creatively extend and apply it…within old communities and in new ones.”
43: “The devalued numerators [have-nots/suddenly wealthy; not at risk/at risk] of these value pairs are prototypically descriptive of technological have-nots, Luddites, women, minorities, and other groups who do not make up Wired’s readership. Wired’s marginalization of these groups becomes clear through these absences. Because dissociations expose the devalued poles that serve as foils to what is explicitly advocated, they are useful in revealing what is systematically excluded or marginalized in a text.”
119: “[Parody sites] bound themselves together through reciprocal links, intertextuality, use of coined terms, and lateral cross-references shared among sites. As a group, they constituted a discourse ‘community,’ but it was more an enclave of like-minded exchangers deriving pleasure from their positions as being ‘in the know’ about candidates’ past gaffes and misstatements.”


Bolter and Grusin’s Remediation

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin
Remediation: Understanding New Media
Area: Digital Media

•    Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying it
11: “Remediation didn’t begin with the introduction of digital media.  We can identify the same process throughout the last several hundred years of Western visual representation.”
Part I
•    Programmers seek to remove the traces of their presence
o    27: “Computer programs may ultimately be human products, in the sense that they embody algorithms devised by human programmers, but once the program is written and loaded, the machine can operate without human intervention.  Programming, then, employs erasure or effacement, much as Norman Bryson defines erasure for Western painting, or as Cavell and other describe the erasure of human agency from the production of photographs.”
•    All any new technology could do: define itself in relationships to earlier technologies of representations
•    Immediacy: 30: “Our name for a family of beliefs and practices that express themselves differently at various times among various groups, and our quick survey cannot do justice to this variety.”
•    Hypermediacy: 34: “Where immediacy suggests a unified visual space, contemporary hypermediacy offers a heterogeneous space, in which representation is conceived of not as a window on to the world, but rather as ‘windowed’ itself—with windows that open on to other representations or other media.”
•    Hypernediacy was the counterpart to transparency in Western painting, an awareness of mediation whose repression almost guaranteed its repeated return
•    “Just What it is that Makes Today’s…” hyper conscious of the medium of photo-montage because photography is normally so transparent
•    Hypermediacy expresses the tension between the visual space as mediated and as a “real” space that lies beyond mediation
o    Looking “at” v. Looking “through”
o    Attempt to hold the viewer at the surface indefinitely
•    “Repurposing”: to take the “property” from one medium and reuse it in another
o    Example: Jane Austen novels → films
•    McLuhan: the “content” of any medium is always another medium
•    Digital Media = hypermedia => explicit critique and refashioning
•    Hypermediacy and transparent media desire to get past limits of representation to achieve the real
•    “They look what they do”
•    Our history is genealogical, not linear, and older media can remediate new ones
•    Fisher: colonizing the space between the canvas and the viewer has been one of the most aggressive features of the twentieth century
•    A medium is that which remediates
•    When we focus on an aspect of a medium, we must remember to include its other aspects (film: darkened theater, etc.)
•    2 senses of immediacy:
o    Epistemological: immediacy is transparency (absence of representation/ mediation)
o    Psychological: immediacy names the viewer’s feelings => authentic feeling
•    Remediation doesn’t destroy the aura of a work of art, but instead it always refashions that aura in another form
22: On VR: “You can visit the world of the dinosaur, then become a Tyrannosaurus.  Not only can you see DNA, you can experience what it’s like to be a molecule.”
23: “What designers often say they want is an ‘interfaceless’ interface, in which there will be no recognizable electronic tools—no buttons, windows, scroll bars, or even icons as such.  Instead the user will move through the space interacting with the objects ‘naturally,’ as she does in the physical world.”
47: “The new medium can remediate by trying to absorb the older medium entirely, so that the discontinuities between the two are minimized.  The very act of remediation, however, ensures that the older medium cannot be entirely effaced; the new medium remains dependent on the older one in acknowledged or unacknowledged ways.”
55: “ Remediation as the mediation of mediation; Remediation as the inseparability of mediation and reality; Remediation as reform.”
56: “Jameson has traced out the connection between the ‘linguistic turn’ and what he calls ‘mediatization.’ Jameson describes the spatialization of postmodern culture as ‘the process whereby the traditional fine arts are mediatized: that is they now come to conscious of themselves as various media within a mediatic system in which their own internal production also constitutes a symbolic message and the taking of a position on the status of the medium in question.”

July 2017
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