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Archive for the ‘GeoPhilosophy’ Category

In my writing about media, I’ve been using the words “ecology” and “ecosystem” fairly liberally. In a new piece called “The Limitations of the ‘New Ecosystem’ Metaphor,” The Columbia Journalism Review’s Lauren Harris argues that this metaphor is misguided. She interviews media scholar Anthony Nadler, who has claims that the metaphor “naturaliz[es] current trends in the diffusion and development of news practices.” Its use “suggests ‘spontaneous, self-ordering principles’ in the news market obscuring all the social, political, and economic decisions that undergird the status quo.”

I want to respond to that argument here by presenting the case that “ecology” is not a metaphor imported from biology, but that it’s more like the other way around: “media ecology” is a description of the world of media as much as it is a description of the world of biology. Both media and biology are constituted by the actions and processes of their constituents. In this sense, it is not a metaphor but a way of seeing, and it’s more important to ensure we understand what it is we are looking at.

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How best to characterize the past decade in books? This list focuses on three themes: attempts to grapple with the nature of the climate and extinction crises, the “ontological” and “decolonial” “turns” in cultural and environmental theory, and efforts to map out the “multispecies entanglements” that characterize our world and the acute challenges we face.

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My course “Self-Cultivation and Spiritual Practice” starts from the premise that philosophy — at least as it has existed outside of today’s analytical philosophy departments — has generally been about how to live, and that the best philosophers around the world have offered detailed instructions on how to get better at that. Historian of philosophy […]

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The study of emotions, particularly within the field of affective neuroscience, is a complex field riven by paradigmatic division. In my book Shadowing the Anthropocene, I proposed a way to engage with one’s experience, including one’s emotional or affective experience, within an “eco-ethico-aesthetic” (or “logo-ethico-aesthetic”) practice that could help us deal with the “Anthropocene predicament.” […]

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Social media debates over the J. K. Rowling “transphobia” flare-up have encouraged me to formulate my own position on all of this. I’m still in the midst of that and would be happy for feedback (respectful, please). In general, I see this as an example of what happens when two social movements move forward in […]

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As I explain in Shadowing the Anthropocene, process-relational philosophy in a Peircian-Whiteheadian vein takes aesthetics to be first, ethics to be second, and logic (which, in our time, we need to think of also as eco-logic) to be third. This is not a temporal sequence, but a logical one: aesthetics is found in the response […]

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An article of mine by that title has appeared in a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture on “Popular Culture, Religion, and the Anthropocene.” The article contains the theoretical core of the book I’m currently writing on image regimes. It builds on my work in cinema and media […]

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It’s wonderful to see that process-relational theory is getting noticed in the study of social-ecological systems. A new article in Ecology and Society, Garcia et al’s “Adopting process-relational perspectives to tackle the challenges of social-ecological systems research,” argues that a process-relational perspective, “which focuses on nonequilibrium dynamics and relations between processes,” can help the field […]

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A very helpful analytical review of the “relational paradigm in sustainability research, practice, and education” has just been published online by Ambio. While it’s limited to a certain selection of key publications, the article, by European sustainabililty researchers Zack Walsh, Jessica Bohme, and Christine Wamsler, covers the terrain of “relational approaches” to ontology, epistemology, and […]

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The outbreak of Coronavirus is a good opportunity to think about how we treat guests whose novel appearance amidst us may pose hardship, but whose continuing presence is undeniable.

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Peter Brannen’s Atlantic article “The Anthropocene is a Joke” provides a helpful cold shower for those who’ve gotten a little too drunk on the concept of the Anthropocene. The entire article is worth reading. Here are a few snippets:

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I keep trying to rephrase the second piece of the “double insight” — or two ontological “twists” — around which the philosophical argument of Shadowing the Anthropocene (and Ecologies of the Moving Image) is woven. The first insight is the process-relational one, which is at the core of both A. N. Whitehead’s metaphysics and many variations […]

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