Harley-Davidson and Philosophy
Edited by Bernard E. Rollin, Carolyn M. Gray, Kerri Mommer, and Cynthia Pineo
Foreword by R.K. Stratman
Volume 18 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series
Beyond the chrome and the leather, beyond the wind in the face, beyond the harmonious yin and yang of Top Dead Center and Bottom Dead Center, there lies the open road of philosophical exploration, the endless hurtling of the intellect into fresh vistas of understanding.
Here twelve die hard bikers who also happen to be philosophy professors share their love for the ride and their love for the pursuit of wisdom. Why do we imagine that riding a motorcycle makes us freer than driving a car? Are the bikes themselves the real stars of Easy Rider? Is Motorcycle Syndrome a medical deployment of sexuality? Did Jesus ride a Hog into Jerusalem? Is there an ontology of suicide machines and what could we do with it? What would John Stuart Mill have thought about compulsory helmet laws? Do Harleys really belong in art museums? Just how did FTW nihilists become as marketable as apple pie? Is there a teleological ghost in the Harley machine? Can we ride our manufactured metal mojos back into a State of Nature? What is it about the biker’s worldview that isn’t at home in Starbucks, and what did the ancient Greeks have to say about that?
"Nobody rides a motorcycle because it is safe. Nobody reads a philosophy book because it is safe. But it is safe to say you will find this an interesting read if you ride, or if you are only bemused by those who do. With as wide a range of opinions about riding as there are bolt-on chrome accessories, and by often cleverly insinuating the ideas of Foucault, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Plato, with Sonny Barger or Peter Fonda, this book is bound to raise eyebrows."
—Tom Zimberoff, author and photographic artist, The Art of the Chopper
"The editors have included accomplished intellectual leaders in the biker community. The book is exceptionally readable and a truly unique contribution to both motorcycling and philosophy."
—Arthur Veno, Ph.D., author of The Brotherhoods: Inside Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs
"From Freedom to Frankenstein, Nietzsche to Knucklehead, this book really takes you for a ride! I was joyfully surprised with how my own love for motorcycle riding was fed with the variety of perspectives and meanderings in this book."
—Francesco Garri Garripoli, author of Tao of the Ride
"Harley Davidson and Philosophy brings great insight to the journey of the open road."
—Paul Teutel Sr., Orange County Choppers
"Rarely does one find a book that dotes on philosophy sheathed in billet and chrome, a book that alternately makes you laugh, grumble, contemplate, and wonder what the hell are they talking about? It’s a book about bikes and brains meshing in unexpected ways, that sets you down a road less traveled where getting lost is half the fun. A great cerebral exercise program for bikers and non bikers alike."
—Paul Garson, author of Born to Be Wild: A History of the American Biker and Bikes 1947–2002
"If you’ve ever wondered what makes a motorcyclist tick, want an insight into the Harley phenomenon, or just want an interesting read this is the book!"
—Brain Klock, bike designer, Klock Werks Kustom Cycles
Professor Bernard E. Rollin is the author of fourteen books including The Frankenstein Syndrome and Animal Rights and Human Morality. He has logged over a quarter of a million motorcycle miles—ninety thousand of them on his current Harley, a 1986 low-rider.
R.K. Stratman, rider of the legendary Buffalo Bike, manufactures official Harley-Davidson T-shirts.