Organism and Environment: Inheritance and Subjectivity in the Life Sciences (Paperback)
  • Organism and Environment: Inheritance and Subjectivity in the Life Sciences (Paperback)
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Organism and Environment: Inheritance and Subjectivity in the Life Sciences (Paperback)

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£35.00
Paperback 246 Pages / Published: 01/10/2019
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Organism and Environment performs an examination into the way the contemporary life sciences are heralding a revolution of the most basic philosophical concepts of the Western world. Analyzing recent research in microbiology and evolution theory, the present book argues that these discourses are adding their voices to a growing chorus which is announcing a disruption, if not an end, to the understanding of the order of the world articulated in humanism. What does it mean to be a living substance? Are there such things as living individuals? How are living beings free? The discourses of microbiology, the medical sciences and evolution theory are revealing a living organism that escapes the limited frame that Enlightenment humanism has traditionally used to answer these (and other) ontological questions. Appealing to the theoretical lenses provided by Michel Foucault, Hans Georg Gadamer and Gilles Deleuze, Organism and Environment offers an interpretation of the way the contemporary life sciences are giving articulation to a posthuman ontological order.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498552806
Number of pages: 246
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 221 x 151 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Organism and Environment can best be described as a philosophical interpretation of recent developments in the life sciences. Using insights from postmodern philosophers, especially Gadamer, Winslow (philosophy, St, John's College) highlights the ontological prejudices behind discourses in evolutionary biology. He uncovers a particular assumption, that of the autonomous, individually existing subject at the heart of the familiar theory of adaptation by (vertical) genetic inheritance from parent to offspring. This "humanist" prejudice, or, to use Heidegger's term, "metaphysics of presence," is now giving way to an ecological ontology consisting of horizontal modes of genetic inheritance that render the humanist individual no longer feasible. This book is useful as an insightful application of hermeneutics, but it will also help those in the philosophy of biology reflect further on developments in their field.... Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. * CHOICE *
The question of "Life" has never been more pressing than in the current context of climate change, species loss, and what is now called the Anthropocene: all of which force upon us the need to rethink questions of community and ethical responsibility beyond the purview of homo sapiens. Referencing new work on the microbiome, developmental systems theory, and epigenetics (just to name a few), Russell Winslow's book is an immensely readable and broadly informed contribution to thinking these questions anew by moving beyond the neo-Darwinian reductionist paradigm. A welcome-and overdue-contribution to the growing literature on "posthumanism." -- Cary Wolfe, Director, 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory, Rice University; author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010) and Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (2013).
Winslow's philosophical study of the discourse of modern and contemporary biology is lucid, measured, precise, and refreshing. Along with incisive discussions of figures ranging from Heidegger and Canguilhem to Foucault and Simondon, he introduces a hermeneutic frame derived from Gadamer that effectively delineates and distinguishes among a series of ontological prejudices that "subtend" evolutionary and ecological ideas from Darwin to the present moment. Organism and Environment provides persuasive arguments for the significant contributions of ecological trends in recent biology to ongoing debates over the cultural meanings of posthumanism. -- Bruce Clarke, professor of Literature and Science, Texas Tech University, USA; co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science

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