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Walter Ong: Ramus, Method and the Decay of Dialogue

  • Broadcast in Education
Ethics Talk

Ethics Talk


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This show continues the unfinished and fascinating discussion that we had with Dr. Thomas Farrell on the philosophy of Walter Ong (Check our archives, the show aired on 9/11/09). Ok, so this picture is not of Ong, but of PETRUS RAMUS. Don’t know who he is and why he matters? Listen. But here it a hint -- he was a philosopher/logician who transformed the way that logic is taught. Ramus was the subject of Ong’s masterpiece, Ramus, Method and The Decay of Dialogue. This is a hard book, but Dr. Thomas Farrell, a renowned Ong scholar who has read the book multiple times, will help us to understand some of its key lessons. In this show, we focus on Ong’s claim about how Ramus took Western Culture from a visual culture to a ‘hypervisual’ one -- thereby affecting the nature of communication and of knowledge itself. It gets better, because communication, in turn, shapes and molds consciousness or, as Dr. Farrell puts it, ‘the sensorium’. What does this have to do with ethics you might ask? A lot. Listen to one of the leading scholars on Walter Ong engage in stimulating discussion about how different modes of communication contribute to the flourishing of the individual and the species.