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“You mean my whole fallacy is wrong”: on technological determinism

John Durham Peters


The essay reflects on the so-called technological determinism, discussing it as a “fallacy” and a pejorative word used by academics to criticize their opponents. It shows the intellectual origins of the concept and its developments, concluding that, at the present time, continuing the denunciation of technological determinism is to risk committing a more serious error than giving agency to devices – or to give up criticism. At a time when the meaning of technology is undoubtedly one of the most essential issues facing humanity, it is important to question technology and its historical role. This theme is particularly important for the field of media studies, because if careful explanations of the decisive role of technological mediation are discarded, the raison d’être of the field is impaired.


Technological determinism, McLuhan, technology, intellectual history, communication epistemology

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11606/issn.1982-8160.v11i2p13-33

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