Communication and Rhetorical Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Ronald C. Arnett
Janie Harden Fritz
Causality, Laws of media, Marshall McLuhan, Technology, Tetrad, Trivium
The work of Marshall McLuhan has often been reduced to the form of catchphrases and "McLuhanisms," such as the "global village" and "the medium is the message" in the field of communication. Though these phrases capture an aspect of his thought, the scholarly understanding of McLuhan's vision remains incomplete, even within the specialized area of Media Ecology, of which McLuhan is recognized as the intellectual father. Throughout his corpus, McLuhan makes reference to the classical and medieval trivium, which was the basis for education throughout Western history until the Renaissance. Indeed, he developed a history of the trivium up to the Renaissance in order to understand the works of Thomas Nashe. At the end of his life, he worked to synthesize his views on technology, media, and communication, and the arts of the trivium-- grammar, logic, and rhetoric--which were essential to these works. Consequently, this project details the connection between the classical and medieval trivium and McLuhan's tetrad, which was the heuristic tool that advanced as New Science for the twentieth and twenty first centuries. By detailing this connection, the tetrad is a tool that advances a neo-Medieval theory of communication. In its essence, the neo-Medieval communication theory is attentive to the linguistic essence of the cosmos, is attentive to the transformative nature of understanding, and unifies the human person within a perceptual and poetic understanding of the world.
Wachs, A. (2012). The Triptych Tetrad: Marshall McLuhan's Neo-Medieval Communication Theory (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1320