There seem to be many works on "Philosophy and..." this or that popular TV show; philosophical takes on the ethical contents of tv shows; and works on television in critical theory, pop culture, and media studies, after than manner of the Frankfurt School.

But are there any good philosophical theories that incorporate the advent of "television" (in the largest, interactive sense) into a deeper, perhaps epistemological or phenomenological treatment? Something more like Hegel's treatment of art and history.

Perhaps I am missing a whole genre of philosophical work, but television seems so radical and fundamental to the Zeitgeist as to warrant a bigger place in the literature. Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Perhaps Jean Baudrillard - The Ecstasy of Communication. I'm not sure though if it fits your criteria.
    – John Am
    Oct 7, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    Thanks, actually I forgot all about Baudrillard. Maybe I'll check and see how well he ages. Oct 7, 2015 at 19:48
  • i dislike your trivialisation of critical theory, but a genuine "phenomenology of television" would be fun
    – user6917
    Oct 7, 2015 at 22:48
  • you could try tracking down this asc.upenn.edu/news-events/events/… or chapter five of Television and the Moral Imaginary: Society Through the Small Screen... etc.
    – user6917
    Oct 7, 2015 at 22:50
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    Television is so last century. I'll do you better, Dreyfus wrote a book on philosophy of Internet cryptome.org/2013/01/aaron-swartz/On-the-Internet.pdf But if you insist here is Nuncio:"the transition from modern to postmodern. From location to bilocation and virtual location—the entire route of cultural turns has made the possibility of postmodern regimented bodies through the television". ejournals.ph/…
    – Conifold
    Oct 8, 2015 at 0:24

3 Answers 3


Not as related to formal philosophical discourse as critical theory, David Foster Wallace's famous essay E Unibus Pluram is a great analysis on TV culture.

  • I wish those who had marked this down 2 had given some explanation. I have not read this book but to have 2 negative votes when I came along, this seems excessive to me.
    – Gordon
    Dec 31, 2019 at 19:00

Apparently, there is a text by Popper on TV.

The french translation is " La lélévision, un danger pour la démocratie".

I cannot find the original reference in english.

Also, Boudieu ( a sociologist with a philosophical academic background) :



While he did not write specifically about television I highly suggest Guy Deboard's "The Society of the Spectacle".

Marshall McLuhan was the man who coined the phrase, "The medium is the message". He believed that the medium of communication (television in this case) shaped the message being delivered. And so if you look into his writings you should absolutely be able to find something about television.

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