Amoeba Words

“What is an amoeba word?” Amoeba words include many of the words thrown around when people are talking philosophically. The philosopher-priest Ivan Illich explains: I take the term from the work of Professor Uwe Pörksen of Freiburg, a linguist and medievalist. During the second part of the 1980s, he came to the conclusion that thereContinue reading “Amoeba Words”

Dumpster/Fire: Traces of Burning Man

With guiding principles like self-reliance and self-expression, and a focus on an inclusive community of free exchange (decommodified gift economy), the event and culture of Burning Man is a great example of the phenomenon referred to as “contemporary spirituality.” Much of my research is concerned with relationships between religious communities/traditions and the ecological systems withContinue reading “Dumpster/Fire: Traces of Burning Man”

The Beginning and End of Nature

When people talk about the end of nature, what exactly is this nature that has ended? It’s not like the whole universe imploded. Earth is still spinning. Nature isn’t the universe, and it’s not a planet. It’s nature. Nature is an idea, a word, a symbol, which is not to say that it is merelyContinue reading “The Beginning and End of Nature”

Varieties of Climate Denial

Extreme weather events have been happening since there has been weather. The current frequency and intensity of those events clearly corresponds to the symptoms of anthropogenic climate change. For skepticism, we can never really know with a hundred percent certainty precisely what causal factors are at work. That applies to all things, not just complicatedContinue reading “Varieties of Climate Denial”

Bacteria and Natural Agency

The latest issue of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association has an article about agency and cognition in bacteria, “Natural Agency: The Case of Bacterial Cognition,” by Fermín C. Fulda. It’s part of a steady stream of research across the humanities and sciences indicating that nonhuman life forms are smarter than most modern philosophersContinue reading “Bacteria and Natural Agency”

Energy without Conscience

In Energy without Conscience: Oil, Climate Change, and Complicity (Duke University Press, 2017), David McDermott Hughes draws on his ethnographic work in Trinidad and Tobago to analyze the disregard, apathy, numbness with which most people interact with climate change. He highlights the banality of the complicities that connect people with energy, specifically with hydrocarbons (asContinue reading “Energy without Conscience”

Animal intelligence and the emergency of being

In keeping with the evolutionary varieties of animal and early human intelligence, present danger is assessed in emergency-ontological terms: one interprets the situation as an interruption of prolonged calm by a now acute threat. The deep biological rootedness of the major stress reaction proves that the utmost is evolutionarily commonplace. Though the state of emergencyContinue reading “Animal intelligence and the emergency of being”

Coexistentialism: the reviews, the description, the ride

Coexistentialism and the Unbearable Intimacy of Ecological Emergency Ecocritical Theory and Practice Series, Lexington Books, 2016 The philosophy of existentialism is undergoing an ecological renewal, as global warming, mass extinction, and other signs of the planetary scale of human actions are making it glaringly apparent that existence is always ecological coexistence. One of the mostContinue reading “Coexistentialism: the reviews, the description, the ride”