20th Century Philosophy (in 20 Words or Less)
Twentieth century philosophy discovered that knowledge is a network.
A few examples:
Ferdinand de Saussure gives an early indication of this movement in 1916, and Ludwig Wittgenstein expands on language as a blurry, and blurred, network.
The image of a network expands from linguistics to epistemology in the 1960s, notably with French philosophers like Gilles Deleuze (rhizomes) and Michel Foucault, who offer continental alternatives to sterile Anglo Analysis.
A parallel movement occurs in the US with theorists like Buckminster Fuller and Gregory Bateson who develop the notion of networks as organic systems.
Two prophetic views of the world as a network are offered by Teilhard de Chardin and Marshall McLuhan.
In the 1930s de Chardin foresees today’s virtual world, and sees it as a theological evolution towards the spirit.
In the 1960s McLuhan defined the global village, stating that media are evolving extensions of man (for instance eyes, ears, feet, nervous system).
In another application of this concept, Marvin Minsky attempts to prove that intelligence is composed of a network of stupid agents.