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Urszula Lisowska

Urszula Lisowska

Title: Starting with bodies – rethinking the concept of “the world” in the Anthropocene

Abstract: The paper offers an approach to thinking about politics in the Anthropocene by developing the concept of the world. Rooted in the phenomenological tradition, the concept was developed into a political category by Hannah Arendt. Arendt understood the world as the realm of objectivity created between individuals as they relate to each other, taking into account the diversity of each other’s (but also their own) positions. Drawing on Arendt’s work, Malcom Ferdinand has recently offered an ecological interpretation of the concept. Developing his project of decolonial ecology, Ferdinand argues for a worldly ecology, which aims to rethink the relationships between bodies – human and non-human – to heal the double and intersecting oppression of colonialism and environmental destruction.

The paper intends to answer to Ferdinand’s call by offering an account of how the world can emerge out of the relationships between bodies. To do so, it combines Ferdinand’s emphasis on the bodies with an element of Arendt’s original approach – namely, the role of judgment in creating the world. In particular, the paper focuses on Arendt’s insistence that political judgment be modelled after Kantian judgment of taste and offers to interpret the latter literally – as a sensual (bodily) faculty. As such, the paper moves in a spiral way. It starts from the discussion of Arendt’s concept of the world. In the next step, it moves on to Ferdinand’s project to later go back to the concept of taste present in Arendt’s approach. Finally, it includes Arendtian insights into Ferdinand’s project of worldly ecology.

Bio: Urszula Lisowska, PhD – Assistant Professor at The Institute of Philosophy of The University of Wrocław and a member of Olga Tokarczuk Ex-Centre. Her research and teaching centers around political philosophy. She wrote a book on Martha Nussbaum’s capability approach. Currently, she is working on the political implications of the planetary crisis.