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Circus Philosophicus

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Platonic myth meets American noir in this haunting series of philosophical images, from gigantic ferris wheels to offshore drilling rigs. It has been said that Plato, Nietzsche, and Giordano Bruno 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 ...more
Paperback, 83 pages
Published December 16th 2010 by Zero Books (first published November 16th 2010)
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Leo Horovitz
A mediocre but mildly entertaining book of myths designed to illuminate some questions of metaphysics. The myths themselves are not very imaginative or interesting, and they don't really do the job of shining light on any serious philosophical questions. On the occasions that the author presents his views on some issue, this view seems inevitably naïve and vague to the point of being completely void of meaning. It's hard to see to whom it is addressed. The reader unfamiliar with philosophical qu ...more
In six chapters (plus a brief conclusion),Graham Harman sketches out six scenarios/objects/things that address various parts of his take on object oriented ontology. Chapter one considers a Ferris Wheel of objects, to defend thinking about objects from trends favoring events and relations. In Chapter two, Harman reconceptualizes an ex-girlfriend's concept of a local bridge by projecting it into hell and throwing the old classicists off it, in order to demonstrate how things should be thought of ...more
Disclaimer: I am not really invested in the debates surrounding "object oriented ontology" (that is, whether it's anything more novel than a certain reading of Whitehead combined with some post-phenomenology, a philosophical fad, or some combination of both). But the title of this book attracted me, enjoying both circuses and philosophy.

Harman poses each chapter as a thought experiment of sorts, each inspired by a specific object or scene (a miles-long ferris wheel, a bridge, a calliope, an offs
Karl Steel
The human Graham Harman travels the surface of the earth, inspired by encounters with other cosmopolitan intellectuals to create parables to retell and occasionally incrementally develop the insights of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology. The conceit of cosmopolitan humans talking to other cosmopolitan humans--particularly the embarrassing conversation with the justly named love-object, Olympia (meant to be an automaton?)--fails the weirdness of speculative realism, while doing not ...more
Slim but challenging. I'm relatively new to Harman, but quite enjoyed his approach in this book, using myth and story to introduce elements of his philosophy. I'm not sure I"m ready to devote my life to Object-Oriented Ontology just yet, but this was a nice way to have pieces of it explained.

I suppose I was also drawn to it by his smooth, flowing writing style. He reminds me a bit of Sebald at times, which can be a very good thing.

Worth a look.
Ben Lainhart
Written in the style of Platonic myth, Circus Philosophicus is a fascinating and very readable introduction to Harman's Object Oriented Philosophy. He sets out bold claims and then uses the backdrop of his own travel diaries to create supporting myths. While I was not swayed by many of his arguments, I did enjoy the style of the book and the many ways in which it made me think.
Erick Felinto
A philosophical reflexion on an object oriented ontology in the form of amusing and colorful allegories. A strange, captivating book for philosophers and amateurs alike.
Brilliantly accessible whilst retaining the wonderful strangeness of Harman’s Object-Orientated Ontology
Like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra—but not.
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