University of Minnesota Press

How is it possible that you are—simultaneously—cells, atoms, a body, quarks, a component in an ecological network, a moment in the thermodynamic dispersal of the sun, and an element in the gravitational whirl of galaxies? Joshua DiCaglio’s SCALE THEORY provides a foundational theory of scale that explains how scale works, the parameters of scalar thinking, and how scale reconfigures objects, subjects, relationships—while teaching us to think in terms of scale, no matter where our interests may lie. DiCaglio is joined here by author Dorion Sagan in a dazzling conversation about how a theory of scale might challenge perspectives on space and time, philosophy, innerness, psychedelics—with careful attention to scientific thinking as well as fascination and mysticism, much attuned to the way scale transforms both reality and ourselves.

Joshua DiCaglio is assistant professor of English at Texas A&M University.

Dorion Sagan is an award-winning writer, editor, and theorist. He is the son of the astronomer Carl Sagan and the biologist Lynn Margulis.

References and citations:
-Scale Theory (Joshua DiCaglio)
-Cosmic Apprentice (Dorion Sagan)
-Dazzle Gradually (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan)
-Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
-Powers of Ten video (
-Inner Life of a Cell video (
-Jakob von Uexküll
-Microcosmos (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan)
-Symbiotic Planet (Lynn Margulis)
-Simon Levin
-Samuel Butler
-Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet (Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Heather Anne Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt, editors); Sagan has a contribution in this volume.
-The Philosophy of Science Fiction: Henri Bergson and the Fabulations of Philip K. Dick (James Edward Burton)
-Darwin’s Pharmacy (Richard Doyle)
-Friedrich Nietzsche
-Luigi Fantappiè
-Molecular Capture (Adam Nocek)

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