Truth produces a problem for philosophical thought; the transcendental suggests a ground for truth somewhere beyond being, whilst immanent truth becomes a problem of (metaphysical) representation. Entangling the problem further, truth, stripped of the sovereignty of the definite article, stands revealed as contingent; “illusions which we have forgotten are illusions,” as Nietzsche says, “hardened and congealed“—and thus brittle and precarious—upon its pedestal. A truth has no claim to dispose of or invalidate another truth, meaning that a true reality may be challenged.
In William Hope Hodgson‘s The Ghost Pirates the challenge emerges as the invasion of the supernatural that first threatens and then wrecks the reality of those aboard the Mortzestus. Soon after they set sail from San Francisco the discomforting suggestion of too many shadows on the vessel rapidly becomes the “fact” of a menacing maritime haunting. The implications create waves, choppy logic, extending beyond the fate of the unfortunate vessel to lap at the shores of philosophical thought. Hodgson wasn’t a philosopher—indeed, he is accused by some of barely being a writer.