Terra Incognita: philosophical notes on the climate crisis

Tuesday Seminar
Samuel Wright
Date and Time: 
Tue, 01/10/2019 - 12:00am
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
LH 534 (Unusual venue)

Abstract: The climate crisis brings forth the specter of an unknown earth. But, unlike an explorer who can turn their back on the unknown and retreat into the safety of the known, we do not have that luxury: our actions as humans are forcing us to move toward an unknown earth with no foreknowledge of what that might mean. This talk is a meditation on this problem. I work through selected examples in the history of philosophy (focusing primarily on metaphysics in analytic, continental, and nyāya philosophy) to showcase the inadequacies and inapplicability of our inherited philosophies to the problem of the climate crisis. I conclude by sketching how we might begin to theorize our relation to the earth in this moment of the climate crisis in a way that is also politically useful.

Short Bio: Samuel Wright is Assistant Professor in the Division of Humanities and Languages at Ahmedabad University. He is an intellectual historian of South Asia with particular interest in the circulation of ideas, the history of knowledge, and linkages between philosophical arguments and social contexts. His research and publications engage with questions that span several early modern archives, especially those in Sanskrit and Bengali. He serves on the advisory board for the Journal of South Asian Intellectual History.