Synopses & Reviews
The margins of philosophy are populated by non-human, non-animal living beings, including plants. While contemporary philosophers tend to refrain from raising ontological and ethical concerns with vegetal life, Michael Marder puts this life at the forefront of the current deconstruction of metaphysics. He identifies the existential features of plant behavior and the vegetal heritage of human thought so as to affirm the potential of vegetation to resist the logic of totalization and to exceed the narrow confines of instrumentality. Reconstructing the life of plants "after metaphysics," Marder focuses on their unique temporality, freedom, and material knowledge or wisdom. In his formulation, "plant-thinking" is the non-cognitive, non-ideational, and non-imagistic mode of thinking proper to plants, as much as the process of bringing human thought itself back to its roots and rendering it plantlike.
"Marder (The Event of the Thing: Derrida's Post-Deconstructive Realism), a professor of philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, offers an ambitious and opaque meditation on the philosophical significance of plant life. Best left to professional philosophers and likely inaccessible for lay readers, the affirmation of 'plants' potential to resist the logic of totalization' is frequently more an excuse to cover the author's knowledge of Heidegger or Nietzsche, among others, than a polemical guide to the practice of plant thinking. Still, in its relentless dissection, the work breeds its own kind of rhythm, lulling the reader into a parallel world of 'plant soul' and 'plant time,' in which the natural and artificial blend. Ultimately, this microlens on plant being is a refraction of the human existence and experience of the world, made clearer by what it is not." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz. He is the author of The Event of the Thing: Derrida's Post-Deconstructive Realism and Groundless Existence: The Political Ontology of Carl Schmitt, and, with Patricia Vieira, he is the coeditor of Existential Utopia: New Perspectives on Utopian Thought. He is also an associate editor of the journal Telos and a series editor of Political Theory and Contemporary Philosophy at Continuum Press and of Critical Plant Studies: Philosophy, Literature, Culture at Rodopi Press.