It is one of the most entertaining activities of an editor to look at the articles you’ve gathered and prepared for your next issue and to extract a common theme, a thought, or at least a tendency from them, so as to present it nicely in your editorial. After all, in their most audacious moments, philosophers might lay back and imagine that all the works of the philosophical tradition, while not being able to be united in a grand synthesis, are at least orbiting around that quaint thing our ancestors dared to call truth. And does the editor not do the same? The rays of thought that in the past would share a binding and that here are sharing a domain, do they not share a sun-like center, and if not, how dare they claim to stand united under the banner called philosophy?
But we are failing to point to it.
And that kind of is the point.
This absent center we can only fail to point at lifts its head in this issue, The Thing. And the accidental reference to John Carpenter in that term is only partially accidental. More precisely, our contributors are musing on different ways we can position ourselves vis-a-vis this gelatinous, transmorphic, thing-a-ma-jig, that our ancestors could simply call the truth, the thing in itself, and be done with it. Is the Thing amenable to abstraction? Does it admit of genus, or species, or can it only be grasped in radical particularity? Can it be fixed in thought at all, or does it emerge from a dialectic process, of one to another, or even one to oneself? How to know how well our theories have mapped onto it? And what do we do after we wake up from the dream of being able to see in it some eternal aspect, and find in it only constant entropy, constant decay? Is the Thing redeemable in light of this decay, or maybe even because of it?
So, pop on some recommended listening, and find out.