Philosophy and the Age of the Anthropocene
2350 N Kenmore Ave
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The term “Anthropocene” was coined by geologists in the latter half of the 20th century and popularized in the early 2000s to propose a new definition of the current geological era as one in which human activity has become the most dominant factor in the earth’s processes. The claim, proponents argue, is evidenced by phenomena such as anthropogenic climate change, loss of biodiversity, ocean acidification, and more. At the same time, philosophers have increasingly utilized the term to pursue related questions. What is the human? What is nature? Where does responsibility lie for the current ecological crisis? Would a category other than the human—such as capitalism, industrial technology, colonialism, or anthropocentric thinking itself—be more fruitful for these analyses? This work also dovetails with questions about the current relationship between philosophy and science more generally, such as questions about the legitimacy of using and expanding the meanings of scientific terms in extra-scientific contexts. Moreover, if we accept the term’s use, we are faced with practical and ethical questions: Can living in the Anthropocene be sustainable in the long term, or would moving beyond the Anthropocene even be possible? This conference aims to develop these and related questions.
This is a student event (e.g. a graduate conference).