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
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
Chapter Two: McLuhan, Formal Cause and the Future of Technological Mediation & Postscript
Chapter Three: Medium as ‘Metaform’: An Inquiry into the Life of Forms
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
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
Chapter Nine: Anti-Environmental Art and Its Role in Making Formal Cause Visible
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
Chapter Twelve: Re-Cognizing Formal Cause
Chapter Thirteen: Disrobing the Probe, Unpacking the Sprachage: Formal Cause or the Cause of Form Reframing McLuhan and the Kabbalah