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Contents Preface Acknowledgments xv Introduction 1 Four-Thought 1 Sheltering the Elements 3 Plan of the Work 6 Part I: Elemental Encounters and Ideas 11 Chapter 1. Philosophy’s Forgotten Four 13 Earth 14 Air 25 Fire 36 Water 43 Interstice: Stone 51 Chapter 2. The Topology of the Elemental Environment 59 Elementary Letters 60 Elemental Places 63 Elements as Archetypes 66 Elemental Opposition 67 Elemental Substances 69 Chemical Elements 72 Cultural Comparisons 74 The Frame of the Four 81 Social Construction of the Elements 84 Interstice: Wood 93 xi viii | Contents Part II: Elemental Theories 101 Chapter 3. The Flowering of Ecological Roots: Empedocles’ Elemental Thought 103 Four-Play 103 The Problem of the Poems 104 Square Roots and Radical Rhizomes 106 Empedocles’ Elemental Cosmology 110 Ecological and Political Equality 113 Organic Unity 115 Environmental Action 117 Anticipation of Evolution 119 Animal Empathy 120 Environmental Roots 122 Ecological Ethos 122 Crafting Nature 124 Purity and Pollution 126 The Rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari 131 Interstice: Ice and Snow 137 Chapter 4. Plato’s Chora-graphy of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water 143 The ABC of Everything 143 A Probable Physics 144 Derivation of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water 145 The Corpus of an Ecological Cosmos 147 Second Beginnings and Constrained Construction 148 Removing the Spell of the Elements 150 Elemental Recycling 153 Forms of the Four? 155 Elements Emplaced: Chora-graphy in the Matrix 156 Construction and Structure of the Primary Bodies 160 War and Play of the Elements 163 Dispatching the Stoicheia: Elemental S/endings 165 Husserl and the Mathematization of Nature 168 Postscript to Plato: Whitehead’s Philosophical Footnotes 170 Interstice: Cloud 173 Chapter 5. The Place of the Elements and the Elements of Place: Aristotle’s Natural Household 179 Four Accounts of Five Elements 179 A Dictionary of Elemental Definitions 182 Contents | ix The Ancient Generation Gap 183 Pondering Weight 186 The Place of the Elements 188 The Elements of Place 192 Homecoming and Inhabitation 194 Interstice: Heat and Cold 201 Chapter 6. The Economy and Ecology of the Aristotelian Elements 209 Hot, Cold, Wet, and Dry 209 Converting the Contraries 213 Compounding the Quartet 216 Prime Matter as Persisting Problem 218 Extra Terrestrials: The Fifth Element 225 Elemental Contact: Beholding Tangible Bodies 228 In Touch with the Environment 233 The Soul and the External World 234 Aristotle and Ecology 238 Interstice: Light and Shadow 243 Part III: Elemental Worlds 253 Chapter 7. Domestication of the Elements 255 Outside-In 255 Plumbing Philosophy 257 Watercraft and Landscape Aesthetics 260 From Waterways to Waterworks 264 Bottled Water 267 Fire and Water 270 Eclipse of the Atmosphere 271 Escape from Earth 273 End of the Elements? 275 Interstice: Night 283 Chapter 8. In Touch With the Sensuous World: The Reclamation of the Elemental in Continental Philosophy 293 Elemental Reveries: Bachelard’s Poetics 295 Elemental Dwelling: Heidegger’s Fourfold 300 Elemental Flesh: Merleau-Ponty’s Re-membering 308 Elemental Sensibility: Levinas on Enjoyment 310 x | Contents Elemental Imperatives: Lingis and Our Sensuous Surroundings 312 Elemental Passions: Irigaray on Breath and Body 316 Elemental Landscapes: Casey on Place 319 Elemental Nature: Sallis on Imagination 321 From Elements to the Elemental 324 Interstice: Space 327 Chapter 9. Revaluing Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Elemental Beauty, Ecological Duty, and Environmental Policy 333 Elemental Ethics 334 Elemental Aesthetics 338 Environmental Action 345 Bewildering Order 352 Notes 357 Index 419 ...


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