Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

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University of Chicago Press, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 293 pages
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Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Air illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

"This is a most interesting and thought-provoking book. . . . Peters maintains that communication is ultimately unthinkable apart from the task of establishing a kingdom in which people can live together peacefully. Given our condition as mortals, communication remains not primarily a problem of technology, but of power, ethics and art." —Antony Anderson, New Scientist

"Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication. . . . Original, erudite, and beautifully written, this book is a gem." —Kirkus Reviews

"Peters writes to reclaim the notion of authenticity in a media-saturated world. It's this ultimate concern that renders his book a brave, colorful exploration of the hydra-headed problems presented by a rapid-fire popular culture." —Publishers Weekly

What we have here is a failure-to-communicate book. Funny thing is, it communicates beautifully. . . . Speaking Into the Air delivers what superb serious books always do-hours of intellectual challenge as one absorbs the gradually unfolding vision of an erudite, creative author." —Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer
 

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SPEAKING INTO THE AIR: A History of the Idea of Communication

User Review  - Kirkus

Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication. Peters (Communication Studies/Univ. of Iowa) begins this delightful essay by observing that "Only moderns could be facing each other and be ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lex23 - LibraryThing

John Durham Peters book is a beautiful history of both communication science and philisophy about communication. By discussing the different notions people have had about commmunication, starting with ... Read full review

Contents

The Problem of Communication
15
The Historicity of Communication
2
The Varied Senses of Communication
2
Sorting Theoretical Debates in and via the 1920s
2
Technical and Therapeutic Discourses after World War 11
22
Dialogue and Dissemination
33
Dialogue and Eros in the Phaedrus
36
Dissemination in the Synoptic Gospels
51
The Quest for Authentic Connection or Bridging the Chasm
177
The Interpersonal Walls of Idealism
180
Fraud or Contact? fames on Psychical Research
188
The Telephonic Uncanny
195
Broadcasting as Dissemination and Dialogue
206
Machines Animals and Aliens Horizons of Incommunicability
227
The Turing Test and the Insuperability of Eros
233
Animals and Empathy with the Inhuman
241

History of an Error The Spiritualist Tradition
63
Christian Sources
66
Communication in the Seventeenth Century
77
NineteenthCentury Spiritualism
89
Toward a More Robust Vision of Spirit Hegel Marx and Kierkegaard
109
Marx versus Locke on Money
119
Kierkegaards Incognitos
127
Phantasms of the Living Dialogues with the Dead
137
Hermeneutics as Communication with the Dead
147
Dead Letters
165
Communication with Aliens
246
A Squeeze of the Hand
263
The Privilege of the Receiver
265
The Dark Side of Communication
267
The Irreducibility of Touch and Time
269
Extracts Supplied by a Subsublibrarian
273
Acknowledgments
283
Index
285
Copyright

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Page 11 - So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken ? for ye shall speak into the air.

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About the author (1999)

John Durham Peters is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.

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