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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 14
Immortality and Infinitude in the Anthropocene

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Displaying: 1-20 of 23 documents


articles
1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
John Charles Ryan That Seed Sets Time Ablaze: Vegetal Temporality in Judith Wright’s Botanical Poetics
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The time of vegetal life itself—denoted as plant-time in this article, following the work of Michael Marder—is essential to human-plant relations. Conceptualized as a multi-dimensional plexity, vegetal temporality embodies the endemic land-based seasons, rhythms, cycles, and timescales of flora in conjunction with human patterns. The contemporary poet Judith Wright invoked a time-space continuum throughout her writing as a means to convey the primordial character of Australian plants while resisting the imposition of a colonialist schema of time. Wright’s bold textualization of vegetal temporality embodies her commitment to fostering botanical ethics and locally-grounded activism on behalf of Aboriginal people and the Australian environment.
2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Henry Dicks The Poetics of Biomimicry: The Contribution of Poetic Concepts to Philosophical Inquiry into the Biomimetic Principle of Nature as Model
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The Ancient Greeks understood both art and technology (techne) as imitation (mimesis) of Nature (physis). This article argues that the rapidly growing ecological innovation strategy known as biomimicry makes it possible for technology to leave behind the modern goal of “mastering and possessing” Nature and instead to rediscover the initial vocation it shared with art: imitating Nature. This in turn suggests a general strategy for philosophical inquiry into the biomimetic principle of “Nature as model”: the transposition of philosophical analyses of concepts associated primarily with poetics and related fields—mimesis, mimicry, translation, analogy, metaphor, etc.—into the philosophy of biomimicry.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Simon Lumsden Veganism, Normative Change, and Second Nature
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This paper draws on the account of second nature in Aristotle, Dewey and Hegel to examine the way in which norms become embodied. It discusses the implications of this for both the authority of norms and how they can be changed. Using the example of veganism it argues that changing norms requires more than just good reasons. The appreciation of the role of second nature in culture allows us to: firstly, better conceive the difficulty and resistance of individuals to changing norms because of the material resilience of norms, habits and customs in a culture. Secondly, it argues that the effective adoption of a new norm such as veganism or the behavioral change necessary to respond to climate change, requires not just more good reasons but the creation of material pathways in the culture in which those revised norms can be inhabited.
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Judy Spark Visibility Sometimes Wandering and Sometimes Reassembled: On Being in Rain
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If we attend to things only in terms of their bearing on our own projects then our experience of them will be filtered through their compatibility or incompatibility with those aims. This essay is about the experience of rain in the northern latitudes and the work is built around a phenomenological description that relies on accounts of direct experience which are then considered through Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s conception of flesh. In thinking through the phenomenon in this way, the overlapping nature of interior and exterior “reality” (and thereby human and world) can be foregrounded and the notion of a dichotomy between these realms, undermined.
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Mihnea Tanasescu Responsibility and the Ethics of Ecological Restoration
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This paper argues that the concept of responsibility can and should ground an ethics of ecological restoration. It starts with William Jordan’s concept of restoration, namely the creation of mutually beneficial human-nature relationships. It builds a concept of responsibility using the works of Hans Jonas and Martin Drenthen, understood as a correlate of our technological capacity, as well as a relationship to the possibility of meaningfulness today and in the indefinite future. It is argued that we are responsible in a deep sense for engaging in projects of restoration in order to ensure the survival of embodied meaningfulness in the world.
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Joachim Wündisch Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Individual Excusable Ignorance after 1990: A Study of Excusable Ignorance in Collective Action Problems
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The thesis of this paper is that individual emitters, in contrast to governments, may be justified in employing excusable ignorance as an excuse after 1990 and even well into the future. Although it may at first seem counterintuitive, this is not only true of individuals with extremely limited access to information but potentially also of highly educated individuals with almost boundless access to data, reports, and analyses. I develop the argument based on an influential account of excusable ignorance and discuss and reject an objection from expert testimony.
7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Oli Stephano Spinoza, Ecology, and Immanent Ethics: Beside Moral Considerability
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This paper develops an immanent ecological ethics that locates human flourishing within sustaining ecological relationships. I outline the features of an immanent ethics drawn from Spinoza, and indicate how this model addresses gaps left by approaches based in moral considerability. I argue that an immanent ecological ethics provides unique resources for contesting anthropogenic harm, by 1) shifting the focus from what qualifies as a moral subject to what bodies can or cannot do under particular relations, 2) emphasizing the constitutive role of interaction and interdependence in ecosystemic existence, and 3) extending ethical regard to ecologically-ramified scales.
8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Kaitlyn Creasy Environmental Nihilism: Reading Nietzsche against New Conservationism
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This article interprets David E. Storey’s foundation of an environmental ethic on Nietzsche’s philosophy of life as a version of new conservationism. Critically examining Storey’s various claims, the article demonstrates potentially problematic aspects of the new conservationist project. In order to both question Storey’s interpretation of a Nietzschean philosophy of life and problematize the new conservationist understanding of nature, this article returns to the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. In particular, it argues from a Nietzschean perspective that the new conservationist projection of human teleology and values onto wild nature and non-human life results in a nihilistic conception of wild nature.
9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Andrew F. Smith From Victims to Survivors? Struggling to Live Ecoconsciously in an Ecocidal Culture
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It’s hardly news that settler culture normalizes ecocide. Those of us raised as settlers who are nevertheless ecoconscious routinely blame ourselves for our failure to live up to our own best expectations when it comes to challenging the norms and practices of our culture. This leads us to overlook that we’re also—and, I think, much more so—among its victims. I outline five manifestations of victimhood routinely exhibited by the ecoconscious settler activists, scholars, and students with whom I interact. I then consider how we can transition from being victims to survivors of our culture, which is vital for ending ecocide. These two concepts, victimhood and survivorship, are regularly juxtaposed when discussing recovery for those subject to abuse, violence, and other trauma-inducing phenomena. Together they provide the basis for a clearer understanding of how we ecoconscious settlers should engage in the ongoing fight for our lives and our futures.
10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Michelle Bastian, Thom van Dooren Editorial Preface: The New Immortals: Immortality and Infinitude in the Anthropocene
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11. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Joseph Masco The Six Extinctions: Visualizing Planetary Ecological Crisis Today
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This article examines the visualization strategies informing public understandings of planetary scale ecological crisis. Working with scientific visualizations as well as the Suicide Narcissus art exhibition, it interrogates the inherent problems in conveying extinction as a process and future potential. This essay ultimately considers the psychosocial tensions inherent in contemplating collective death.
12. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Monika Bakke Art and Metabolic Force in Deep Time Environments
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Contemporary art practices which take into consideration both bio­logical and geological perspectives on the environment offer an inspiring contribution to the growing geological awareness in the humanities. By drawing attention to the role of metabolic forces in evolution, including inorganic activity, artists enquire into the geological past and future of the earth and beyond. Their work suggests that in a time of environmental crisis, it is particularly important to design future metabolic networks for ourselves and non-human others aimed not only at waste reduction and energy efficiency, but also prioritizing multispecies alliances beyond the biological.
13. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Elaine Gan An Unintended Race: Miracle Rice and the Green Revolution
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Engineered for fast harvests and high yields through chemicals, miracle rice triggered a green revolution throughout Southeast Asia and one of the largest anthropogenic disturbances to the nitrogen cycle in the twentieth century. This article considers the green revolution as an event of more-than-human temporalities, an aleatory formation of vegetal, animal, chemical, and human coordinations that has become a world-changing conjuncture. I present the formation as an unintended race—that is, an interplay of differential speeds. I offer a countermodernist account of structural transformation, doing history otherwise, to challenge anthropocentric narratives of progress and call attention to contingent multispecies coordinations that drive modernity’s acceleration.
14. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Sabine Höhler Survival: Mars Fiction and Experiments with Life on Earth
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This paper explores examples of Mars fiction of “terraforming”—of creating Earth-like environments in space—against the background of the Earth’s environmental degradation and restoration. Visions of Mars settlement offered an escape route for a threatened humanity and a blueprint for the eco-technological recreation of the Earth’s environment. This paper aims to outline the Anthropocene as an epoch that not only compromised the Earth but also essentially transformed the understanding of Earthly life to a minimalist principle of survival through infinite metabolic conversions. This understanding of immortality conjoined images of recreation and creation, of paradisiacal pasts and eco-technological futures.
15. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Emily Thew Narcissistic Attachments: A Melancholic Reading of De-Extinction Projects
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This essay examines the relationship between human and non­human animals in the context of de-extinction projects. Following van Dooren and Rose’s (2015) suggestion that de-extinction projects are reluctant to engage with mourning work, I argue that these scientific endeavours can be understood as inherently melancholic. In reading them as such, I focus on the concepts of identification and ambivalence central to Freud’s theorisation of melancholia, and argue that looking at these key ideas in relation to de-extinction reveals the way that notions of human exceptionalism can be problematized by a psychoanalytic reading of these projects.
16. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Dolly Jørgensen Endling, the Power of the Last in an Extinction-Prone World
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In April 1996, two men working at a convalescent center wrote a letter to the journal Nature proposing that a new word be adopted to designate a person who is the last in the lineage: endling. This had come up because of patients who were dying and thought of themselves as the last of their family line. The word was not picked up in medical circles. But, in 2001, when the National Museum of Australia (NMA) opened its doors, it featured a gallery called Tangled Destinies and endling reappeared. On the wall facing a case with a thylacine specimen was written: Endling (n.) The last surviving individual of a species of animal or plant. Since that appearance, the word endling has slowly seeped into popular culture, appearing in symphonic music, performance art, science fiction stories, comics, and other art works. This paper examines the cultural power of the concept of endling as the last of a species and the history of its mobilization in a world facing extinction around every corner.
book reviews
17. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Lorraine Code Pauline Phemister. Leibniz and the Environment
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18. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Marion Hourdequin Gillian Barker. Beyond Biofatalism: Human Nature for An Evolving World
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19. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Emily Ray Michael Marder. Grafts: Writings on Plants
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20. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Joshua August Skorburg Chris Abel. The Extended Self: Architecture, Memes and Minds
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