On Doubt


In his book ‘On Doubt’ (1966), the Czechoslovakian philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) describes conversation as the intellectual aspect of time. The progress of conversation, ‘our’ intellectual progress, is identical for us to the progress of time. The past has been ‘conversed’, the present ‘converses’, and the future is ’to be conversed’ *1)

To Flusser, philosophy (and therefore life) ultimately is about words and phrases. Key are Subject and Object and Predicate, the latter defining the first two. The Predicate not only defines Subject and Object, it also changes them: The phrase or sentence is change, is life itself.

To me, Flusser was an influential thinker and — interestingly — a rare polyglot. He would write his texts in various languages, his many manuscripts are only recently being translated into English *2).

What it all comes down to, is poetics.

*1) Vilém Flusser, On Doubt, translated by Rodrigo Maltez Novaes, Univocal, Minneapolis, 2014, pp. 63-64.
*2) Flusser, introduction.