Pietro Daniel Omodeo
Title: Geopraxis: A Concept for the Anthropocene
Abstract: In this communication, I intend to offer a philosophical and epistemological reflection on the problem of subjectivity and praxis in the Anthropocene. I will deal with what I consider to be the most controversial cultural-political question of the Anthropocene debate: to identify who is the subject of the current technospheric transformation of the planet. I here make use of the concept of geo-praxis in order to express a historical and immanentist conception of humankind in its transformative relation with the planetary ecosystem. I forge this concept in line with Gramsci’s historical materialism, or his ‘philosophy of praxis’. Geopraxis points to the dual imperative of a still-missing Anthropocene paradigm apt to connect the natural sciences and human sciences: on the one hand, to anchor anthropological discourse in the concreteness of the terrestrial environment we inhabit and alter on a planetary scale; on the other, to de-essentialize the active subject of the environmental transformation, by underlining its autotelic potency without making of it a disembodied spiritual force. The much-debated anthropos of the Anthropocene is not an essence from which one can deduce any consequence but a concrete historical reality in progress. Rather than a biological given (say, homo sapiens), I argue, in line with a humanist line of thought à la Pico, that humankind is an ongoing process of self-construction and self-determination, with a large degree of contingency and freedom. Thus, the question about the subject of the Anthropocene is not merely that of detecting causes and responsibilities but also to mobilize collective practices that, by transforming the social, economic and political frameworks, are able to stabilize the dynamic relation between the anthroposphere, the technosphere, the biosphere and the geosphere.