Life on earth is currently approaching what has been called the sixth mass extinction, also known as the Holocene or anthropocene extinction. Unlike the previous five, this extinction is due to the destructive practices of a single species, our own. Up to 50% of plant and animal species face extinction by the year 2100, as well as 90% of the world’s languages. Biocultural diversity is a recent appellation for thinking together the earth’s biological, cultural and linguistic diversity, the related causes of their extinctions and the related steps that need to be taken to ensure their sustainability. This book turns to the work of Jacques Derrida to propose a notion of ‘general ecology’ as a way to respond to this loss, to think the ethics, ontology and epistemology at stake in biocultural sustainability and the life and death we differentially share on earth with its others. It articulates an appreciation of the ecological and biocultural stakes of deconstruction and provokes new ways of thinking about a more just sharing of the earth.
Introduction: General Text, Death and Time / 1. Survivance and General Ecology / 2. Transcendence and the Surviving Present / 3. Resistance and Ex-appropriation: Letting Life Live-On / 4. Animmanence: Life Death & The Passion and Perpetual Detour of Difference / 5.: Biopolitics and Double Affirmation: Step/nots Beyond an Ecology of the Commons / Bibliography / Notes
Philippe Lynes is a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department of English Studies at Durham University. He held the 2017-8 Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair in Environmental Humanities at the University of California, Irvine, and earned his PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. Lynes's research situates itself at the intersections of contemporary continental philosophy and the environmental humanities. He is the author of Futures of Life Death on Earth: Derrida's General Ecology forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield International, and co-editor (with Matthias Fritsch and David Wood) of Eco-Deconstruction: Derrida and Environmental Philosophy (Fordham University Press, 2018). He is also a translator of French philosophy, with a translation of and introduction to Jacques Derrida's Advances published in 2017 with the University of Minnesota Press. He is currently working on his second book Dearth: Eco-Deconstruction after Speculative Realism on Blanchot, Derrida and Heidegger.
Futures of Life Death on Earth intervenes with full force in the debate initiated by Derrida's soon to be published 1975-76 seminar entitled “Life Death.” Lynes comes to the table with a formidable grasp of the material, and a comprehensive understanding of both the broader context of the discussion, and its stakes for everything that goes by the names of biopolitics and ecology.
Passionate about biocultural sustainability, Philippe Lynes explains why the notion of a viable future involves a maze of false-starts and detours that require careful navigation. Lynes brings a refreshing perspective to the relevance of Derrida’s work for an ecological ethics, and his scholarly agility makes this book an invaluable companion for ecocriticism in the very broadest sense.
Through a careful re-reading of Derrida’s works, Philippe Lynes elaborates an original notion of a “General Ecology”, showing how eco-deconstruction can be an effective and unavoidable means to think and face the so-called “sixth mass extinction”, also known as the Anthropocene extinction. The constant confrontation with the contemporary debate makes this book a compass to orient us in the time to come.
Drawing, with both precision and breadth, on the work of multiple theorists, Lynes develops what he calls a “general ecology” based on the work of Jacques Derrida. This is a timely study, a book with and for a future.