Title: Towards a transcendental geology: a Merleau-Pontyan reading of the Four Theses of Dipesh Chakrabarty
Abstract: The goal of this presentation is to propose a Merleau-Pontyan reading of the Four Theses of Dipesh Chakrabarty and, furthermore, of the Anthropocene. In the first part of this presentation, I identify the theoretical problems that undergird Chakrabarty’s claims by connecting them to an attempt to rethink the concept of history in a non-historicist manner in light of the questions raised by the Anthropocene and by anthropogenic climate change. The hypothesis, which I explore in the second part of the presentation, is that the idea of history developed by Merleau-Ponty, which finds in the concepts of “institution” and “transcendental geology” its fundamental theoretical articulations, can provide the framework for a rereading of the Four Theses. In the last section, I attempt to expand this paradigm by reading the problem of the relationship between geological history, life history, and human history as a relationship of institution. From this perspective, the Anthropocene emerge as a series/epoch, in the stratigraphical sense of the term, but also as a condition, i.e. a “field of possibility” that sets the limits for human praxis to be effective. In conclusion, I indicate some potential developments for this proposition that move in the direction of a narrower intersection between philosophy and Earth System sciences.