The map is the territory

Dossier: What is German Media Philosophy?

RP 169 () / Article, Dossier, What is German Media Philosophy?

When I read the expression ‘The map is not theterritory’ for the first time, it occurred to me that it contained the quintessence of Anglo-American philosophy of common sense. The defiant insistence on a logic of representation, a common-sense belief in the evidence of an objective ‘reality’ that is prior to all mental representations or written marks, a normative concept of rigour and scientism – all that appeared to be condensed in that one expression, which Alfred Korzybski coined in a paper on the ‘Necessity forRigor in Mathematics and Physics’ in 1931, and which can be seen as an emblem of analytical philosophy.Certainly, I do not intend to start an argument like the one that Jacques Derrida once had with John Searle. And I will certainly not address the historical issue of the divide between the continental and the analytical traditions of philosophy, which according to Michael Friedman can be traced back to the clash between Heidegger and Carnap in the early 1930s. I only wish to use the expression of Korzybski, who was a partisan of Carnap, to point out the media-philosophical impact of Cultural Technologies and Techniques Studies,which have constituted a new and rapidly expanding field of research and teaching in Germany for about a dozen years now. The media-philosophical core of this field of research can be seen as the unfolding of the possible meanings of negating Korzybski’s negation, namely that ‘the map is the territory’.

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