Ecology and Existence: Bringing Sartre to the Water's Edge (Hardback)
  • Ecology and Existence: Bringing Sartre to the Water's Edge (Hardback)
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Ecology and Existence: Bringing Sartre to the Water's Edge (Hardback)

(author)
£100.00
Hardback 562 Pages / Published: 20/07/2017
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In this book, Matthew C. Ally explores the changing and increasingly troubled relationship between humankind and planet Earth. Oriented by the seemingly simple example of a woodland pond, he draws together insights from existential philosophy, scientific ecology, and several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to articulate a strong sense of human belonging in the living Earth community and a binding imperative of participation in the struggle to preserve a habitable planet and build a livable world.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739182888
Number of pages: 562
Weight: 1039 g
Dimensions: 234 x 160 x 48 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This book is truly unique: at once brilliant, timely, often amusing, and exceptionally rich in its references to contemporary thinking in philosophy, history, and science. Professor Ally engages Jean-Paul Sartre as his Virgil in a revealing trek through nature, from a sylvan pond to the outer rings of the global ecological crisis. In the end, while not concealing the hellish aspect of our current situation, he argues strongly and convincingly against abandoning hope. -- William L. McBride, Purdue University
In `bringing Sartre to the water's edge,' Matthew Ally demonstrates the surprising relevance of existentialism to the growing environmental crisis, and gives us a new and holistic way of understanding that crisis. There is nothing quite like this work of ecology and philosophy focusing on a single pond in upstate New York and ending with the urgent call to transform the geoculture of capitalism, consumerism, and colonialism. Deeply considered, beautifully written, and powerfully felt, it is a book to be lived with, enjoyed, savored, and pondered. Ecology and Existence is a masterwork by a mature and confident thinker. -- Ronald Aronson, author of We: Reviving Social Hope
In a brilliant tour de force Matthew Ally brings Sartre to bear on environmental thought. His masterfully structured work reads like a nimble essay. He captures our imagination, bringing the conceptual toolbox of humanist thought into play at a pond. Sartre at the water's edge never turns into a Narcissus reflecting upon himself, rather, he finds his 'integrative and open-ended philosophical method' in a newly found freedom of water. Contingency, freedom, responsibility, solidarity, and liberation, are revived in the experiential lack of gravity the pond provides. Ally is a story teller and a scientifically informed philosopher with an exquisite literary sensibility. He brings natural history writing back into philosophy, contemporizing a rich tradition of Thoreau and Rachel Carson. -- Irene J. Klaver, University of North Texas
The pond! Does it exist, or not exist? Matthew Ally has brought Jean-Paul Sartre finally out from the cafe and into the woods, writing a major work of existential ecophilosophy that is the climax of years of careful thinking. The field, like the pond, will be changed forever. -- David Rothenberg, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, New Jersey Institute of Technology
The pond is the place where many an American philosopher have skipped their philosophical stones, and by throwing some of his own Matthew Ally has placed himself within this important American tradition of ecological/environmental writing. This is a very original contribution to existentialism, existentialist ethics, environmental ethics, continental philosophy, and Sartre scholarship. This is not a book on Sartre, but a book that works with Sartre. It is not exegetical, although there is plenty of that. It is what the author calls 'reconstructive philosophy,' which is a wonderful genre: what philosophers could and should have said, but never did, even if it was bubbling off the pages they wrote. This is also not an apologia, but rather a constructive and prospective work: what we can and should do with one of the most inspiring philosophers of the twentieth century. Ally confronts directly five main evident liabilities with Sartre's existentialism in relationship to the pressing issue of global climate change and environmental justice in the Anthropocene: reflexive anthropocentrism, heuristic exceptionalism, naive instrumentalism, clannish exclusivism, and philosophical machismo. Follow Ally along his trekking to find out how he unravels Sartre's inchoate existentialist environmental ethics. -- Eduardo Mendieta, Professor of Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University

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