The Philosopher's Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium.pdf

The Philosopher's Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium.pdf


Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and even grass; and recommended appropriate medicinal, dietary, and aesthetic approaches to select species of plants. In this book, Michael Marder illuminates the elaborate vegetal centerpieces and hidden kernels that have powered theoretical discourse for centuries. Choosing twelve botanical specimens that correspond to twelve significant philosophers, he recasts the development of philosophy through the evolution of human and plant relations. A philosophical history for the postmetaphysical age, The Philosopher's Plant reclaims the organic heritage of human thought. With the help of vegetal images, examples, and metaphors, the book clears a path through philosophy's tangled roots and dense undergrowth, opening up the discipline to all readers.

From the conversation of Socrates and Phaedrus in the shade of the plane tree to Luce Irigaray's meditation on the water lily, The Philosopher's Plant takes us outside the city walls, across gardens of letters and vegetables, grassy slopes and vineyards, to the dimly lit sources of philosophy's vitality. With distinctive depth and clarity Marder reminds us that, far from walled in, the human community communes with nature and is itself inhabited by nature. -- Claudia Baracchi, Professor of Philosophy, Universita degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, UPV-EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz. He is the author of The Event of the Thing: Derrida's Post-Deconstructive Realism; Groundless Existence: The Political Ontology of Carl Schmitt; Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life; Phenomena -- Critique -- Logos: The Project of Critical Phenomenology; and the forthcoming Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze. Mathilde Roussel is a French artist and sculptor who has taught and exhibited widely in the United States.

AcknowledgmentsPrologue: Herbarium PhilosophicumPart I: Ancient Plant-Souls1. Plato's Plane Tree2. Aristotle's Wheat3. Plotinus' Anonymous "Great Plant"Part II. Medieval Plant-Instruments4. Augustine's Pears5. Avicenna's Celery6. Maimonides' Palm TreePart III. Modern Plant-Images7. Leibniz's Blades of Grass8. Kant's Tulip9. Hegel's GrapesPart IV: Postmodern Plant-Subjects10. Heidegger's Apple Tree11. Derrida's Sunflowers12. Irigaray's Water LilyNotesBibliographyIndex


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