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CCEP Lecture by Pr. Matthias Fritsch: Terrestrial Space and Intergenerational Time

Monday 5 December 2022Add to my calendar
15:30 to
EOS N 01.110
Terrestrial Space and Intergenerational Time

This talk seeks to offer a response to massive environmental destabilization by linking my account of intergenerational justice as turn-taking (Fritsch 2011 and Fritsch 2018) with the proposals for a geokinetic view of Earth and the idea of a second Copernican revolution. The argument will proceed in four steps. First, I suggest that recent proposals calling on us to respond to the Anthropocene by ‘being geologically human’ (as David Wood puts it), by situating lived human time in geological time, should be supplemented by generational time, and thus, by the ethics of human generations following one another. To conceptualize intergenerational justice, I briefly review my proposal for human generations taking turns with the earth. I then suggest that the earth is not an external, exchangeable object that we may or may not use, but is constitutive of generations being able to come about and take turns in the first place. In this constitutive sense, earth also takes turns with us. To further specify this idea, I discuss the so-called “second Copernican revolution,” according to which the earth not only moves around the sun, but is internally on the move, its geokinetic processes co-constituting us. The environmental crises in our very midst demand a reconceptualization of time as always already intergenerational and space as counter-Copernican.

The work of professor Matthias Fritsch (Concordia University, Canada) concerns the relations between justice and time, history, and the environment, building on 19th and 20th century European philosophy. He has contributed to the new field of eco-deconstruction, applying the continental tradition to questions of ecological disruption. In his recent book Taking Turns With the Earth (Standford University Press 2018), Fritsch deals with intergenerational philosophy from a continental perspective, raising questions such as what we owe the dead and how to relate to future generations within the problem of climate change.

Boris van Meurs