Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




AGS Events

"The Future of Knowledge, and the Fate of Wisdom, In the Age of Information"

Lance Strate, Fordham University

Sydney University, NSW Australia   June 2024


John Henry Newman defined the university as “a place of teaching universal knowledge,” which suggests that it is also an environment for the teaching and creation of knowledge, and therefore a medium for the teaching and creation of knowledge.

Based on the field of media ecology, defined by Neil Postman as “the study of media as environments,” and following Marshall McLuhan’s famous maxim that, “the medium is the message,” we can understand knowledge to be the product of a particular type of medium or environment.

Taking inspiration from the poetic questions posed by T.S. Eliot, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”, this lecture takes issue with the view expressed among internet boosters that information is the basis of knowledge, and knowledge is the basis of wisdom. Instead, an alternative understanding is that information as a contemporary phenomenon is a product of the electronic media environment, knowledge is a product of the chirographic and typographic media environments, and wisdom is a product of the oral media environment.

This is a hybrid event: zoom link will be provided upon registration.

Lance Strate is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City, and President of the Institute of General Semantics. He is a founder of the Media Ecology Association, and served as the MEA’s president for over a decade. He is also a past president of the New York State Communication Association, and the New York Society for General Semantics, and the current co-chair of the Global Listening Centre’s Academic Board.

He held the 2015 Harron Family Chair in Communication at Villanova University, and received an honorary appointment as Chair Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Henan University in Kaifeng, China, in 2016. He is the author of ten books, including On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology; Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman's Brave New World Revisited; Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition; Concerning Communication: Epic Quests and Lyric Excursions in the Human Life World; and three poetry collections.

Dr. Strate is the co-editor of seven anthologies, including two editions of Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction in an Electronic Environment; The Legacy of McLuhan; and Taking Up McLuhan's Cause: Perspectives on Media and Formal Causality; and he has served as editor of the Speech Communication Annual; General Semantics Bulletin; and Explorations in Media Ecology, a journal he founded and edited for 9 years.

He is the recipient of the Media Ecology Association's Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book and their Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship; the Eastern Communication Association's Distinguished Research Fellow Award; the New York State Communication Association's Neil Postman Mentor Award and their John F. Wilson Fellow Award for exceptional scholarship, leadership, and dedication to the field of communication; the Global Listening Centre’s Outstanding Research Award; and the J. Talbot Winchell Award for Service from the Institute of General Semantics.

Translations of his writing have appeared in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, Hebrew, Mandarin, and Quenya.




Updated by Robert James
 16th May 2024