Language and Hermeneutics

history and philosophy of technology

This essay for the inaugural issue of Technology and Language builds on the author’s longstanding commitments and forthcoming book on Material Hermeneutics. These concern the technological revolutions in imaging technologies which created the ways for material things to "speak", as in visualism and its expansion. Science though its instruments changed perception – but in different ways at different times. Early Modern Science began in the 17th century in an instrumentally optical or "visualist" mode with telescopes and microscopes. Late Modern 19th century Science, more sure of itself and more abstract, drew on the new imaging technology of spectroscopy. In the 20th century, postmodern science expanded from "visualism" as perception became multi-sensory. Tending to the ways in which material things learn to "speak" will reshape all previous historiography and interpretation