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The Ecological Thought

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The Cultures of Climate Change at CRASSH announces its second event of Easter Term, a lecture by Timothy Morton entitled “The Ecological Thought.” This lecture will be followed by discussion and a wine reception.

Abstract: F.R. Leavis admired poets for “concrete enactment”—for reproducing or mimicking their content at the level of form. What does an understanding of enactment do for contemporary theories of cognition, which outline an “enactive” view of the interface between consciousness and environment? In this talk, I will be using literary and cultural theory to probe a dominant paradigm in environmental thinking—systems theory. It is to systems theory that the “enaction” theory looks to ground its view of how mind and world intersect.

This talk is part of a larger project, called The Ecological Thought, which I am publishing with Harvard UP next year. The Ecological Thought is, if you like, the prequel to my book Ecology without Nature. Where do you have to be intellectually, politically, philosophically, to have an idea like ecology without nature? (Which argues that in order to enter an “ecological” society we have to trade in the idea of Nature at the door.)

In brief, the ecological thought is the most thorough possible enagagement with the fact of interconnectedness. What are the implications of this fact?

Timothy Morton is Professor of Literature and Environment at University of California-Davis. His new book “Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics” (Harvard University Press, 2007) explores the value of art in imagining environmental projects for the future, developing a fresh vocabulary for reading “environmentality” in artistic form as well as content, and traces the contexts of ecological constructs through the history of capitalism.

This talk is part of the The Cultures of Climate Change series.

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