The Life of Plants A Metaphysics of Mixture EMANUELE COCCIA École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris Translated by Dylan Montanari ‘Back to animals! Back to mushrooms! And now back to plants! It is with plants that this marvellous, witty and immensely literate book wants us, the human readers, to get acquainted again. And of course with plants, it is actually the sun toward which we are reoriented. Philosophy is on the move again, not exactly forward but downwards, giving a completely different meaning to what counts as a foundation to thought.’ Bruno Latour We barely talk about them and seldom know their names. Philosophy has always overlooked them; even biology considers them as mere decoration on the tree of life. And yet plants give life to the Earth: they produce the atmosphere that surrounds us and they are the origin of the oxygen that animates us. Plants embody the most direct, elementary connection that life can establish with the world. In this book, philosopher Emanuele Coccia argues that, as the very creator of atmosphere, plants occupy the fundamental position from which we should analyze all elements of life. From this standpoint, we can no longer perceive the world as a simple collection of objects or a universal space containing all things, but as the site of a veritable metaphysical mixture. One implication of Coccia’s claim is that since the atmosphere of life is rendered possible through plants alone, life only perpetuates itself through the very circle of consumption undertaken by plants. In other words, life exists only insofar as it consumes other life, removing any moral or ethical considerations from the equation. In contrast to trends of thought which discuss nature and the cosmos in general terms, Coccia’s account brings the infinitely small together with the infinitely big, offering a radical redefinition of the place of humanity within the realm of life. Faced as we are with ever more complex and urgent ecological questions, this path-breaking account of the life of plants will appeal not only to students and scholars of philosophy but to a wide range of readers interested in our relation to the natural world.
216 x 138mm | 192 pages | October 2018 HB | 978-1-5095-3152-3 | £50.00 | $64.95 | €61.90 PB | 978-1-5095-3153-0 | £15.99 | $22.95 | €19.90 ebook available
The Woods VLADIMIR BIBHIKIN Russian Academy of Sciences Translated by Arch Tait In modern, urbanized societies, our engagement with the natural environment often seems controlled and distant, reduced to strolls through city parks or walks along well-trodden paths. Human life is now far removed from its prehistoric origins, when humans dwelt deep within the forests and depended on them for their survival. In this important book, Vladimir Bibikhin, one of Russia’s most influential 20th-century philosophers, argues that, although most humans now live far from the proximity of woods and forests, our existence remains profoundly linked with these spaces. It was Aristotle who first appreciated their primal role, even deriving his notion of “matter” from the Greek words for wood and forest. As timber, the woods may be seen as inanimate material, but at the same time they also constitute a living ecosystem and the source of energy and life. By opening up this duality, the woods are transformed from simple matter to a living environment, serving as a reminder that we belong to the world of biological life to a far greater extent than we usually think. Drawing on a wealth of writers and thinkers including Heidegger and Darwin, The Woods will be of interest to students and scholars in philosophy and the humanities generally, as well as to a wider readership concerned with environmental issues and our relationship to the natural world. SERIES: NEW RUSSIAN THOUGHT 229 x 152mm | 320 pages | November 2019 HB | 978-1-5095-2586-7 | £60.00 | $79.95 | €73.90 PB | 978-1-5095-2587-4 | £19.99 | $28.95 | €24.9 ebook available 0