Institute of Geography and Sustainability of the University of Lausanne
Research projects

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A philosophy for the anthropocene

Research fields Environmental humanities
Keywords Complex systems
Philosophy of history
Funding UNIL
Duration December 2010 - November 2015
Researchers Bourg Dominique (Supervision) [web] [email]
Federau Alexander (Doctoral student)

The aim of this research project is to question philosophically the rather new concept of the anthropocene. As a recent neologism, the anthropocene has become rather popular and polemical within climatology and geology. Human sciences have shown their interest recently, but it seems still unexplored from a philosophical point of view. Since Englightement and modern science, the separation between nature and culture has become hermetic. But man’s modifications of nature are nowadays so deep and lasting that one can barely consider nature as “the other” from society. The idea is not to say that nature as something autonomous does not exist, but to question if nature as wilderness can be considered to be an adequate representation. While we witness the acceleration and expansion of anthropic processes, it is maybe of no use to talk of “the death of nature”, but rather to consider that nature is from now on historical, like the human being. This research work aims to show that the concept of the anthropocene can bring a better understanding of the biosphere, in building new bridges between social and natural sciences.