Title: Becoming Earthbound
Abstract: There can be little doubt that, facing the current environmental crisis with its disruptive socio-political consequences, we need to acknowledge Earth as an inevitable horizon and perhaps even basis of our thinking. The question is, however, how to take Earth into consideration. And this question is inseparable from another one: what is Earth, after all? In my talk, I want to show two things: First, we undoubtedly need to make our thinking (and acting) Earthbound, but, second, it is questionable to speak of Earth itself. To establish the first point, I will briefly present a current approach in philosophy of technology demanding “a terrestrial turn” (esp. Vincent Blok’s version of it). To demonstrate the second point, I will utilize some of postphenomenological insights to show that we never have an immediate access to Earth. My talk thus intends to underline that each of our concepts, including that of Earth, is technologically mediated. Hence, when seeking to do justice to our Earthbound condition and to understand human agency in the Anthropocene, we inevitably must do justice to our own technicity.
Bio: Martin Ritter is Deputy Director at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Senior Researcher at its Department of Contemporary Continental Philosophy. He is a member of the Center for Environmental and Technology Ethics – Prague (https://cetep.eu/). From 2007 to 2020, he taught philosophy at Charles University, Prague. Besides numerous journal articles especially on phenomenology, critical theory, media philosophy, and philosophy of technology, he has recently published two monographs: To Liberate the Future by an Act of Cognition. Walter Benjamin’s Theory of Truth (Filosofia 2018, in Czech), and Into the World. The Movement of Patočka’s Phenomenology (Springer 2019). https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7426-7005