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ocularcentrism


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A perceptual and epistemological bias ranking vision over other senses in Western cultures. An example would be a preference for the written word rather than the spoken word (in which case, it would be the opposite of phonocentrism). Both Plato and Aristotle gave primacy to sight and associated it with reason. We say that ‘seeing is believing’, ‘see for yourself’, and ‘I'll believe it when I see it with my own eyes’. When we understand we say, ‘I see’. We ‘see eye to eye’ when we agree. We imagine situations ‘in the mind's eye’. ‘See what I mean?’ Commentators such as McLuhan argue that literacy and the printed word have played a key part in the elevation of the eye to such primacy as a way of knowing. See also McLuhanism; sense ratio; visualism.

Subjects: Media studies


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