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Classics and Media Theory$
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Pantelis Michelakis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198846024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198846024.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

On the Beginnings of Media Theory in Hesiod and Plato

On the Beginnings of Media Theory in Hesiod and Plato

(p.115) 5 On the Beginnings of Media Theory in Hesiod and Plato
Classics and Media Theory

Frank Haase

, Kathrin L.G. Lüddecke
Oxford University Press

The history of Western thought and philosophy takes its starting point in the invention of the Greek phonetic alphabet around 800 BCE. Only in the course of this medial break does a new way of thinking begin to emerge, which previously knew nothing comparable in the advanced civilizations of the Near East. Although these advanced cultures had been written cultures for more than 2,500 years, it was only the Greek vocabulary that made a media-based thinking based on self-reference fundamental. Over a period of more than 500 years, the formation of ontological–metaphysical thinking takes place on the basis of a media structure, as exemplarily formulated for the first time in Hesiod’s Theogony in mythological form. It is, after all, Parmenides, who develops in his doctrinal poem an ontology and epistemology, which is unfolded and continued by Plato and which inaugurates human thought itself as a medium of truth. In the dialogue of Phaedrus, Plato induces along the legend of the demigod Theuth and his medial inventions the foundations of a principle circuit that opens up from the self-thinking of the medium of thinking. This circuit of principles based on three basic operations is the ontological foundation on which later Neoplatonism bases its philosophizing and Christianity develops the doctrine of the Trinity.

Keywords:   Hesiod, Plato, Alan Turing, Greek phonetic alphabet, Muses, medial structure, self-reference, operations of thought as a medium

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