Climate Crisis and Future Generations | SSSA & Labont Seminar 2021, 12 October, h 4-6
Matthias Fritsch (Concordia University), Intergenerational Turn-Taking and the Counter-Copernican Revolution
12 October, h 4-6 pm
Abstract. This talk seeks to offer a response to massive environmental destabilization by linking my account of intergenerational justice as turn-taking (Fritsch 2011 and Fritsch 2018) with the idea of a second Copernican or counter-Copernican revolution (in Michel Serres, Bruno Latour, Thomas Nail, and others). The argument will proceed in four steps. (1) First, I suggest that recent proposals calling on us to respond to the Anthropocene by ‘being geologically human’ (as David Wood puts it), by situating lived human time in geological time, should be supplemented by generational time, and thus, by the ethics of human generations following one another. (2) To conceptualize intergenerational justice, I briefly review my proposal for human generations taking turns with the earth. (3) I then suggest that the earth is not an external, exchangeable object that we may or may not use, but is constitutive of generations being able to come about and take turns in the first place. In this sense, earth also takes turns with us. (4) To further specify the perhaps puzzling notion that the earth turns generations about, I discuss what some have called the “second Copernican revolution,” according to which the earth not only moves around the sun, but is internally on the move, its geokinetic processes co-constituting us. The earth not only revolves around the sun, as if in undifferentiated space without any form of agency, but pulls us into its internal movement and co-responsive conduct. The environmental crises in our very midst demand a reconceptualization of time as always already intergenerational and space as counter-Copernican.