Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World
The world as we know it has already come to an end.
Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us as it does with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”—entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and what they mean for how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how approach and understand our politics, ethics, and art.
Moving fluidly between philosophy, science, literature, visual and conceptual art, and popular culture, the book argues that hyperobjects mean that the end of the world has already occurred in the sense that concepts such as world, nature, and even environment are no longer a meaningful horizon against which human events take place. Instead of inhabiting a world, we find ourselves inside a number of hyperobjects, whether climate, nuclear weapons, evolution, or relativity. Such objects put unbearable strains on our normal ways of thinking.
Insisting that we have to reinvent how we think to even begin to understand the world we now live in, Hyperobjects takes the first steps, outlining a genuinely postmodern ecological approach to thought and action.
Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He is the author of many books, including The Ecological Thought and Ecology without Nature. He blogs frequently at Ecology without Nature.
--Minnesota, that is so dope.