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Taking Up McLuhan's Cause
Perspectives on Media and Formal Causality
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ISBN 9781783206940
Hardback 302 pages
Published April 2017
Imprint: Intellect
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This book brings together a number of prominent scholars to explore a relatively under-studied area of Marshall McLuhan’s thought: his idea of formal cause and the role that formal cause plays in the emergence of new technologies and in structuring societal relations. Aiming to open a new way of understanding McLuhan’s thought in this area, and to provide methodological grounding for future media ecology research, the book runs the gamut, from contributions that directly support McLuhan’s arguments to those that see in them the germs of future developments in emergent dynamics and complexity theory.

Corey Anton is professor of communication studies at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Robert K. Logan is professor emeritus in physics at the University of Toronto and chief scientist at the sLab OCAD University. Lance Strate is professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York.

Table of Contents

Eric McLuhan

A Trialogic Introduction
Robert K. Logan, Corey Anton, and Lance Strate

Chapter One: The Form of Things to Come: A Review of Media and Formal Cause
Corey Anton

Chapter Two: McLuhan, Formal Cause and the Future of Technological Mediation & Postscript
Corey Anton

Chapter Three: Medium as ‘Metaform’: An Inquiry into the Life of Forms
Paolo Granata

Chapter Four: From Aristotle via Aquinas: Understanding Formal Cause in Marshall McLuhan’s Philosophy
Laura Trujillo Liñán

Chapter Five: The Effects That Give Cause, and the Pattern That Directs
Lance Strate

Chapter Six: McLuhan and Causality: Technological Determinism, Formal Cause and Emergence
Robert K. Logan

Chapter Seven: Formal Cause: McLuhan’s ‘Objective Turn’?
Yoni Van Den Eede

Chapter Eight: Forms of Causality
Chad Hansen

Chapter Nine: Anti-Environmental Art and Its Role in Making Formal Cause Visible
Steve Reagles

Chapter Ten: Of Memes, Modes, Minor Audiences and Formal Cause
Eric S. Jenkins

Chapter Eleven: After Effects, Before Causes: Technique, Artistic Intent and Formal Causality
Kirk Zamieroski

Chapter Twelve: Re-Cognizing Formal Cause
Peter Zhang

Chapter Thirteen: Disrobing the Probe, Unpacking the Sprachage: Formal Cause or the Cause of Form Reframing McLuhan and the Kabbalah
Adeena Karasick

'Very good essays on a crucial intellectual topic. I’m hopeful that this anthology will help kick off another McLuhan movement rooted in McLuhan’s place in the great tradition of philosophies of causation. ' – Graham Harman, American University in Cairo

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