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Academic journal article Afterimage


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Czech-born philosopher and writer Vilem Flusser's English translation of a series of lectures--originally written and delivered at universities in Brazil, France, and Israel during the 1970s--has recently been published by Univocal. Titled Post-History, in many ways these lectures, which focus on a critique of contemporary values, foreshadow his later writings (in particular the two Flusser volumes published by University of Minnesota Press 2011 and recently reviewed in this journal). But, what is unique to this set of essays is the way in which each short essay responds to, and engages with, a particular thinker, from Marx, Wittgenstein, and Arendt to Heidegger, Adorno, and McLuhan.

In the prefatory "User's Manual," Flusser instructs readers that one may either read the essays "in any order" or in chronological order. If one chooses the latter, a narrative of initial despair will by the end sow the seeds of hope, articulated through Flusser's running theme of the "program." Throughout the text, Flusser insists that we have come to live in a "programmed" world, in the same way that the sixteenth century was characterized by a world of "virtue"; the seventeenth by "nature"; the eighteenth by "reason"; and the nineteenth by "progress. …

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