Summary: Weber’s book… does away with the overcome, but seemingly indispensable truth concept behind every medium. Reporting reality does not mean rigidity but accepting changing (the) realities by reporting. The new “basis theory in media studies” (p. 351), which is the aim of the author, is due to find a widespread field for practical use – or at least it should, in a world not biased by dualistic thinking.
Purpose: To show that the idea of non-dualistic thinking is of great value for some of the core problems of media philosophy (which often lacks the radical approach of Josef Mitterer’s concept). Method: Non-dualistic philosophy, introduced by Mitterer, has a lot in common with other thinkers’ discontent with the traditional way of describing the subject-object relation. Their differences and the impasses of phenomenological, structuralist and psychoanalytic media theory shall be examined to show whether and to what extent non-dualism could do better. Findings: As sociologists and some media-philosophers are already adopting some principles of non-dualism without a real framework, non-dualistic thinking offers a new insight into the way that consent/dissent is manufactured in a world where most descriptions are given in a mediated (i.e., non-interpersonal) form. Implications: If we re-establish the personal freedom of gathering knowledge individually instead of “getting nearer to the truth,” the way of looking at the escapist power of media also has to be reinterpreted. The early distinction between Lumiére-like “documentation” (= truth) and Méliès-like “fiction” (= perception open to alternatives) could be another dualism, which should be expurgated by the application of Mitterer’s concepts.
Problem: A dualistic position faces considerable problems as Mitterer, inter alia, clearly pointed out. Mitterer not only wants to name these problems, but to provide a genuine alternative with his non-dualism. However, this non-dualistic alternative also contains severe problems. Thus this text suggests preferring Wittgenstein’s concept of a pragmatic investigation of language-games to Mitterer’s non-dualism in order to tackle the problems of dualism. Solution: With recourse to Wittgenstein’s pragmatic investigation of language-games, a fundamental problem of dualism can be solved. With the concept of certainty, Wittgenstein succeeds in avoiding an ontological grounding in an independent world – or, as Mitterer would put it, the assumption of a “beyond of discourse.” At the same time, the assumption of an independent world as a concept that provides a basis for our language-games is maintained on an epistemological level. This assumption, however, is not maintained as a phenomenon that requires to be substantiated but as a certainty that is constitutive for language-games and does not need to be substantiated. Such a concept is suitable for preventing epistemological operations such as knowledge, doubt, giving reasons, etc., from being made void, without having to provide an ontological basis for them. Implications: Wittgenstein’s point of view therefore provides an attractive alternative to Mitterer’s non-dualism. By getting rid of the “beyond of discourse,” Mitterer’s non-dualism faces the problem of not being able to explain how we can manage to understand epistemological operations within our language-games without referring to a “beyond of discourse.” From this point of view arises the consequence that it would make sense to analyze language-games from a pragmatic standpoint rather than to keep on honing non-dualistic vocabulary.
Context: Josef Mitterer’s critique of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept of aspectual vision as elaborated in the second part of Philosophical Investigations and an attempt to develop a kind of non-dualistic “philosophy of systemic psychotherapy.” Problem: How can we ever say that we see something as some other thing when already seeing something is a kind of interpretative activity? Is everything we see an interpretation of an antecedent interpretation? Method: Analyzing and interpreting literature. Results: Wittgenstein, Rorty, and Mitterer develop their positions from a comparable kind of discomfort. The foundation of Mitterer’s critique, however, is completely different: his concept of non-dualism no longer only discusses problems resulting from aspectual vision or from the metaphor of a mirror in relation to objects but seeks to overcome the problems arising from the belief in a categorical difference between objects and the description of objects. Implications: If considered residually dualist in Mitterer’s perspective, aspectual vision in the sense of Wittgenstein is a controversial construction that needs further reflection.
Context: With their response to questions concerning the reality of PR, the realistic and the constructivist paradigms either fall into epistemological traps or do not even tackle some of the relevant questions. Problem: An epistemological approach to the reality of PR must particularly answer three questions. Firstly, there is the question of how or why PR descriptions fail. If PR as a communication of self-description is attributed a considerable trustworthiness disadvantage compared to journalistic external descriptions, for example, this implies a second question: How does PR however manage to make people (occasionally) believe in its descriptions? Finally, PR stage-manages events and messages and thus publishes fictions. This leads to the third question: How can these observations of trends such as fictionalization be explained in a plausible manner? Method: Answers provided by the realistic, constructivist and non-dualistic perspectives to these central questions are identified in order to elaborate on specific problems and advantages of the perspective. Results: The trustworthiness of PR characterizations may be used to explain, from a non-dualistic perspective with regard to PR reality, why PR fails or how it may be successful. Additionally, developments such as fictionalization and theatricalization may be described more unambiguously. Implications: New answers from the non-dualistic perspective to old questions of PR research reveal that a non-dualistic project is adaptable and could work with numerous findings of PR research, even though a slight re-interpretation would surely be necessary in parts.
First paragraph: The ‘Beyond’ of the theologians,” to which Josef Mitterer alluded in a footnote in his 1988 essay “Farewell to the truth,” can be understood as an offer of ultimate self-perception – albeit with a high conflict potential.
Context: Although Josef Mitterer’s non-dualism has received increasing attention in recent years, it is still underrated by philosophers. It is an ambitious and unusual treatment of epistemological problems concerning truth and reality. Problem: Is non-dualism tenable? Is conceptual relativism tenable? Method: On the basis of a pragmatic semantics, Mitterer’s arguments against conceptual relativism are shown to be unjustified. Results: Non-dualism lacks a clear conception of semantics. Given the similarities to Robert Brandom’s account of truth, as well as Mitterer’s preoccupation with Wittgenstein, pragmatic semantics suggests itself for filling this gap. But then conceptual relativism seems to be the more attractive position. Implications: This paper is a critical survey of non-dualism and a defense of conceptual relativism, but it might also be a worthwhile reading for those interested in semantic issues such as the difference between Ludwig Wittgenstein’s and Robert Brandom’s approaches to “meaning as use.” Constructivist content: Non-dualism is sometimes regarded as an alternative to realistic and constructivist positions in epistemology. This paper, however, defends conceptual relativism, which is a kind of realism that can also be seen as a kind of (non-radical) constructivism.
Context: Josef Mitterer is, among other callings, a philosopher of “traveling concepts” As a leader of various travel groups, he has collected a rich range of material for the adventure of traveling – and has drawn conclusions from that material for his non-dualistic cognitive theory. Findings: In Mitterer’s view, despite all longings for the “other,” the “strange,” and despite all “self-forgotten expansion of horizons,” in our encounter with the new we always remain systemically bound to our constructions of age and ego. Every putatively authentic encounter is crammed with “constructivist” preconditions. Implications: Whereas in pre-modern times the voyage was understood as a “wandering between worlds,” Mitterer’s epistemology offers us an appropriate framework for the particularities of modern tourism – and with them, for a modern self-understanding in face of the foreign and strange.
Problem: The paper’s main focus is on the question of whether Mitterer’s non-dualising philosophy is able to show a way out of the antagonistic opposition of fact and fiction, realism and constructivism. In addition, since Mitterer’s philosophy has hardly been discussed so far in historiography and theory of history, I also examine the question of whether his approach can provide new theoretical insights in these disciplines. Method: I follow a close reading of Mitterer’s texts and relate them to the propositions of a variety of publications from the field of theory of history. Results: Mitterer’s arguments show, on the one hand, how to expel the idea of creation from our historical thinking as there is no authenticity waiting behind our world of descriptions. On the other hand, they make clear that historiography no longer has to decide between realism and relativism. Rather, it is a relationist approach that shows a way to research the many entanglements and complexities between past realities and their descriptions. A different way to write history becomes visible: a history of realities. Implications: The discussion of Mitterer’s non-dualism not only shows how historical research might benefit from this philosophy (in leaving behind some dualistic foundations of the discipline or the search for historical origins) but also how non-dualism might profit from the insights of history (with regard to power, processuality, and temporality.
Purpose: To show the connections and differences between Mitterer’s concept, cultural theory, and sociology of knowledge in order to reproduce the development of non-dualizing philosophy. Problem: Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy explicitly places emphasis on the continuation and coherence of discourses. Consequently, it grants an epistemological option that does not focus on the object as the end of cognition and description, but rather as the beginning. This perspective not only helps to overcome fundamental philosophical problems; it also concedes that the whole concept of non-dualizing philosophy refers theoretical descriptions, on the one hand, to the status of “so far” and, on the other hand, can be described as “from now on.” Solution: It seems necessary to exemplify obvious and hidden connections to cultural theories, especially those of the early 20th century (i.e., Karl Mannheim, Heinrich Rickert, Max Weber, William James), which predominantly concentrate on the relations between language and object, experience and world. The illustration of those relations should bring out Mitterer’s arguments, as well as how his argumentation can be applied to itself. Benefits: To explain and avoid the epistemological problems of realism, as well as of constructivism, which emerge within a dualistic perspective.