Platonic myth meets American ir in this haunting series of philosophical images, from gigantic ferris wheels to offshore drilling rigs. It has been said that Plato, Nietzsche, and Giorda Bru gave us the three great mythical presentations of serious philosophy in the West. They have spawned few imitators, as philosophers have generally drifted toward a dry, scholarly tone that has become the yardstick of professional respectability. In this book, Graham Harman tries to restore myth to its central place in the discipline. In Chapter One, the narrator considers the motion of a Ferris wheel of many miles in diameter, which generates disasters and other events in its endless revolutions. In Chapter Two, he moves from the Chesapeake Bay to the depths of Hell, where he observes the show trial of pre-Socratic thinkers. In Chapter Three, the narrator encounters a battered steam calliope in India that may summon tsunamis, solar flares, and other catastrophic forces. In Chapter Four, he tries to explain reports of a ghostly boat in Japanese waters. In Chapter Five, he discusses causation on an offshore drilling platform. And in Chapter Six, amidst a deadly Paris hailstorm, he proposes a theory of objects without relations.
Graham Harman is Associate Vice Provost for Research and a member of the Department of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.