B.R. van Meurs MA (Boris)

PhD candidate - Metaphysics and philosophical anthropology

B.R. van Meurs MA (Boris)
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1

Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Geoscientists are speaking of the Anthropocene, the new geological epoch in which human agency is of decisive influence on the Earth System. Although the Anthropocene seems to indicate something meaningful about what it is to be human, it is hard to determine what exactly. The Anthropocene is not directly visible nor readily comprehensible in everyday terms. How to bridge visible reality and science?

Many scholars argue that storytelling has a role to play. If only we were to find the right kind of stories to tell, would we not discover a way to respond to the planetary crisis? After all, stories render the unfamiliar familiar.

On the other hand, each story also distorts reality in its imitation of it. Are we not merely fooling ourselves when we rely on stories to help us navigate on planet Earth in times of climate change?

In my PhD research, I will investigate the different functions of the plot in stories about the Anthropocene. I use the theory of French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, developed in his Time and Narrative trilogy, which describes the capacities of the plot to humanize time. Next to Ricoeur's work, I am engaged with contemporary literary critics and theorists who work on climate change and the Anthropocene. I apply all this to the growing corpus of cli-fi, or, climate fictions.

My ultimate goals is to figure out if and how literature plays a role in our meaningful understanding of planetary time, in which humans have become an important force.

Research group



Ancillary activities

Boris van Meurs conducts philosophical research into the impact of humans on the earth. Examining this on a geological timescale puts the effects of our actions in another perspective. He wants to know how philosophy can help understand humanity as an important geological force.