Conditions of Mediation contributor Graham Harman has a new book out entitled Dante’s Broken Hammer. Here, Harman again takes on a more unusual philosophy subject, the work of Italian poet Dante Alighieri, transforming it into an it into a unique provocation for continental philosophy, still largely toiling in the shadows of Immanuel Kant.
Harman’s contribution to Conditions of Mediation follows a similar route, taking a thinker largely unconsidered by, and perhaps even unfashionable for, philosophy: the media theory of Marshall McLuhan. For Harman, there are some clear parallels between McLuhan’s thinking and Martin Heidegger’s philosophy, particularly, their shared criticisms of surface, in favour of depth (i.e. for McLuhan, the backgrounded medium itself should take analytical precedence over its surface content). What is interesting about Harman’s contribution is the way in which is thinks through how theories of media and communication might contribute to important philosophical problems today; when such ideas normally travel in the opposite direction.