Circus Philosophicus by Graham Harman

By Graham Harman

Platonic delusion meets American noir during this haunting sequence of philosophical pictures, from enormous ferris wheels to offshore drilling rigs. it's been stated that Plato, Nietzsche, and Giordano Bruno gave us the 3 nice legendary shows of great philosophy within the West. they've got spawned few imitators, as philosophers have usually drifted towards a dry, scholarly tone that has develop into the yardstick respectability. during this booklet, Graham Harman attempts to revive fantasy to its principal position within the self-discipline. In bankruptcy One, the narrator considers the movement of a Ferris wheel of many miles in diameter, which generates mess ups and different occasions in its never-ending revolutions. In bankruptcy , he strikes from the Chesapeake Bay to the depths of Hell, the place he observes the convey trial of pre-Socratic thinkers. In bankruptcy 3, the narrator encounters a battered steam calliope in India which can summon tsunamis, sun flares, and different catastrophic forces. In bankruptcy 4, he attempts to give an explanation for experiences of a ghostly boat in eastern waters. In bankruptcy 5, he discusses causation on an offshore drilling platform. And in bankruptcy Six, amidst a perilous Paris hailstorm, he proposes a thought of items with no kin.

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Indeed, if we examine Agamben’s earlier deployment of this Foucauldian turn of phrase concerning biopower and “animalization” in the opening pages of Homo Sacer, it’s clear that Agamben wants from Foucault the outlines of a tragic modernist logic—where progress leads inexorably to barbarism, refining life means eliminating life, bios becomes indistinguishable from zoe, human life is reduced to animality. In a kind of “pure gold” moment for Agamben this Foucauldian sentiment concerning the “animalization of man” is followed directly by one of Foucault’s very rare mentions of the Holocaust (in some remarks after a paper given at Stanford in 1979).

Agamben sums things up in “No to Biopolitical Tattooing,” his 2004 explanation of why he would not submit to post-9/11 US customs fingerprinting: The problem exceeds the limits of personal sensitivity and simply concerns the juridical-political status (it would be simpler, perhaps, to say bio-political) of citizens of the so-called democratic states where we live. There has been an attempt the last few years to convince us to accept as the humane and normal dimensions 20 T H E F I R S T B I R T H O F B I O P OW E R of our existence, practices of control that had always been properly considered inhumane and exceptional.

2 A fair amount of what we still know today, or what we think we know today, about plant life is laid out for us here in Plato. ” Plants in fact have a soul ( psukhe, often transliterated as psyche), but they are the “lowest” form of the living: “passive,” lacking any kind of communication, awareness or sensation (“not endowed by nature with the power of observing or reflecting on its own concerns”), and sessile (“fixed and rooted in the same spot, having no power of self-motion”). All this adds up to plants’ well-established role in the West as the poorer cousins to animals, the lowest threshold of living things: stuff that lives solely to serve the other, “higher” beings.

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