Author: Timothy Morton
Publication Info: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
“In Ecology without Nature, Timothy Morton argues that the chief stumbling block to environmental thinking is the image of nature itself. Ecological writers propose a new worldview, but their very zeal to preserve the natural world leads them away from the “nature” they revere. The problem is a symptom of the ecological catastrophe in which we are living. Morton sets out a seeming paradox: to have a properly ecological view, we must relinquish the idea of nature once and for all.
Ecology without Nature investigates our ecological assumptions in a way that is provocative and deeply engaging. Ranging widely in eighteenth-century through contemporary philosophy, culture, and history, he explores the value of art in imagining environmental projects for the future. Morton develops 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. From John Clare to John Cage, from Kierkegaard to Kristeva, from The Lord of the Rings to electronic life forms, Ecology without Nature widens our view of ecological criticism, and deepens our understanding of ecology itself. Instead of trying to use an idea of nature to heal what society has damaged, Morton sets out a radical new form of ecological criticism: ‘dark ecology.'”
Author: Timothy Morton
Publication Info: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.
“In this passionate, lucid, and surprising book, Timothy Morton argues that all forms of life are connected in a vast, entangling mesh. This interconnectedness penetrates all dimensions of life. No being, construct, or object can exist independently from the ecological entanglement, Morton contends, nor does “Nature” exist as an entity separate from the uglier or more synthetic elements of life. Realizing this interconnectedness is what Morton calls the ecological thought.
In three concise chapters, Morton investigates the profound philosophical, political, and aesthetic implications of the fact that all life forms are interconnected. As a work of environmental philosophy and theory, The Ecological Thought explores an emerging awareness of ecological reality in an age of global warming. Using Darwin and contemporary discoveries in life sciences as root texts, Morton describes a mesh of deeply interconnected life forms—intimate, strange, and lacking fixed identity.
A “prequel” to his Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (Harvard, 2007), The Ecological Thought is an engaged and accessible work that will challenge the thinking of readers in disciplines ranging from critical theory to Romanticism to cultural geography.”
Author: Robert Pogue Harrison
Publication Info: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008
“Humans have long turned to gardens—both real and imaginary—for sanctuary from the frenzy and tumult that surrounds them. Those gardens may be as far away from everyday reality as Gilgamesh’s garden of the gods or as near as our own backyard, but in their very conception and the marks they bear of human care and cultivation, gardens stand as restorative, nourishing, necessary havens.
With Gardens, Robert Pogue Harrison graces readers with a thoughtful, wide-ranging examination of the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. Moving from from the gardens of ancient philosophers to the gardens of homeless people in contemporary New York, he shows how, again and again, the garden has served as a check against the destruction and losses of history. The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment, an association that has continued throughout the ages. The Bible and Qur’an; Plato’s Academy and Epicurus’s Garden School; Zen rock and Islamic carpet gardens; Boccaccio, Rihaku, Capek, Cao Xueqin, Italo Calvino, Ariosto, Michel Tournier, and Hannah Arendt—all come into play as this work explores the ways in which the concept and reality of the garden has informed human thinking about mortality, order, and power.”
Author: Roberto Esposito
Translator: Timothy C. Campbell
Publication Info: Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010
“No theme has been more central to international philosophical debates than that of community: from American communitarianism to Habermas’s ethic of communication to the French deconstruction of community in the work of Derrida and Nancy. Nevertheless, in none of these cases has the concept been examined from the perspective of community’s original etymological meaning: cum munus. In Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community, Roberto Esposito does just that through an original counter-history of political philosophy that takes up not only readings of community by Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Heidegger and Bataille, but also by Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Canetti, Arendt, and Sartre. The result of his extraordinary conceptual and lexical analysis is a radical overturning of contemporary interpretations of community. Community isn’t a property, nor is it a territory to be separated and defended against those who do not belong to it. Rather, it is a void, a debt, a gift to the other that also reminds us of our constitutive alterity with respect to ourselves.”