In its early modern form, philosophy gave a decisive impetus to the science and technology that have transformed the planet and brought on the so-called Anthropocene. Can philosophy now help us understand this new age and act within it? The contributors to this volume take a broad historical view as they reflect on the responsibilities and possibilities for philosophy today.
The term ‘Anthropocene’ signifies the era of the arrival of human beings as a force that affects global ecosystems in ways that are potentially disastrous for humanity itself, as well as for countless other species. This volume explores whether philosophy has meaningful tasks to fulfill in this unparalleled situation. Do philosophers need to reflect on new topics today? Do they need to think in new ways? Do they need new relationships to their own tradition? And are there concrete actions they should take, over and above philosophical reflection? The contributors to this volume thus take on the question of the relevance and responsibility of philosophy, drawing upon diverse legacies, in the current global situation.
Richard Polt and Jon Wittrock / 1. Environmental Cosmopolitanism as a Philosophy for the Anthropocene, Amos Nascimento / 2. The Coming of the Post-Axial Age, John Michael Greer / 3. On Nature and Liberation, Timothy Sean Quinn / 4. Eidetic Eros and the Liquidation of the Real, Richard Polt / 5. Odysseus on the Beach: Humanity between the Anthropocene and the Hubriscene, Gregory Fried / 6. Starting from Ourselves as Living Beings, Luce Irigaray / 7. Philosophy’s Homecoming, Michael Marder / 8. The Uncanny Anthropocene, Byron Williston / 9. Which Way I Fly: Reforming Nihilism in the Anthropocene, Jon Wittrock / 10. Ecological Finitude as Ontological Finitude: Radical Hope in the Anthropocene, Fernando Flores and B. Scot Rousse / 11. The Voices of Nature: Toward a Polyphonic Conception of Philosophy, Thomas Alexander / Index / About the Contributors
What is the task of philosophy in the Anthropocene? One thing is for certain: we cannot merely rely upon established conceptual systems but rather must think deeply and question boldly as we reconsider what it means to be. This impressive array of “axial echoes” offers a glimpse of what it would mean to renegotiate human existence in the Anthropocene.
The identification of the Anthropocene brought a new perspective on time and human impact on the environment. Philosophers were major contributors to discussions around the rise of modern technology and the dramatic transformation of the earth in its wake. Their continued contribution to the debate on the human impact on the planet is urgent. This impressive book is an excellent example.
Richard Polt is Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University. With Gregory Fried he has translated Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics and Being and Truth, and edited A Companion to Heidegger’s “Introduction to Metaphysics” and Nature, History, State: 1933-1934.
Jon Wittrock is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Södertörn University, Sweden.