Printing is the final step necessary for the complete triumph of a literate mentality

The decontextualization brought about by literacy can be an important factor in bringing about an objectivist orientation. It makes reading material readily available, thus encouraging universal literacy and more general use of literate artifacts. This in turn can allow greater accumulation of information through such things as encyclopedias.

The accumulation of information made possible by printing is the crucial step in destroying the mnemonically oriented features of an oral or partly oral culture. Knowledge can be remembered—or rather, stored—even when it is abstracted from its existential context, so the highly contextual, formulaic, rhythmic, and narrative-oriented approach to knowledge characteristic of oral cultures tends to whither.

In terms of the perceptual effects, the uniformity of print also makes silent reading much easier and its elimination of personal idiosyncrasies (i.e., different writing styles) from the text decontextualizes words more relentlessly than ever, thus intensifying the crucial effects of literacy already mentioned.

The spatialization of language, begun by pictographic writing and accelerated by the alphabet, takes a quantum jump with printing. In terms of the history of Western culture, then, although classical Greece shows the definite effects of a significant level of alphabetic literacy, it is not until after the invention of the printing press that literacy exerts its full force on the Western mind.

Jardine (2011), Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 31(3)

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