Through Vegetal Being

Two Philosophical Perspectives

Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder

Columbia University Press

Through Vegetal Being

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Pub Date: July 2016

ISBN: 9780231173872

248 Pages

Format: Paperback

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Pub Date: July 2016

ISBN: 9780231173865

248 Pages

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Pub Date: July 2016

ISBN: 9780231541510

248 Pages

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Through Vegetal Being

Two Philosophical Perspectives

Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder

Columbia University Press

Blossoming from a correspondence between Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder, Through Vegetal Being is an intense personal, philosophical, and political meditation on the significance of the vegetal for our lives, our ways of thinking, and our relations with human and nonhuman beings. The vegetal world has the potential to rescue our planet and our species and offers us a way to abandon past metaphysics without falling into nihilism. Luce Irigaray has argued in her philosophical work that living and coexisting are deficient unless we recognize sexuate difference as a crucial dimension of our existence. Michael Marder believes the same is true for vegetal difference.

Irigaray and Marder consider how plants contribute to human development by sustaining our breathing, nourishing our senses, and keeping our bodies and minds alive. They note the importance of returning to ancient Greek tradition and engaging with Eastern teachings to revive a culture closer to nature. As a result, we can reestablish roots when we are displaced and recover the vital energy we need to improve our sensibility and relation to others. This generative discussion points toward a more universal way of becoming human that is embedded in the vegetal world.
Through Vegetal Being foregrounds the relations that plants enable between humans and other living things, continuing both Michael Marder's work on plant existence and Luce Irigaray's work on sexual difference and the forgetting of the world in the constitution of individual identity. This charming and beautifully written book is a two-person meditation on the philosophy, ontology, and ethics of plant life and our fundamental dependence on it as living beings. Elizabeth Grosz, Jean Fox O'Barr Women's Studies Professor at Duke University
Through Vegetal Being explores what the vegetal realm can offer to philosophy and the tradition of western metaphysics. The two voices in dialogue—legendary feminist thinker Luce Irigaray and acclaimed philosopher Michael Marder—engage the critique of metaphysics from a perspective that is largely without precedent, thus cross pollinating between such intellectual fields as continental philosophy, environmentalism, gardening, and botany. William Egginton, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University
Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder have written an admirable and singular book, where they recover two aspects of philosophy that have been otherwise forgotten. On the one hand, they return to a reflection on our condition as living beings, the context in which and thanks to which we exist. On the other hand, their method is an epistolary dialogue, a genre that has given us some of the most profound and least abstract insights along the history of philosophy. Daniel Innerarity, author of Governance in the New Global Disorder
Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder surprise us with a moving foray into life in its barest, elemental traits. By tapping into the pulse and silent language shared by all animate beings, they unsettle received philosophical narratives and awaken modes of sensibility both subtle and expanded. The contact with the mystery of vegetal life renews the investigation into human becoming, its potentiality and cultivation. Claudia Baracchi, University of Milano-Bicocca
Preface
Luce Irigaray
Prologue
1. Seeking Refuge in the Vegetal World
2. A Culture Forgetful of Life
3. Sharing Universal Breathing
4. The Generative Potential of the Elements
5. Living at the Rhythm of the Seasons
6. A Recovery of the Amazing Diversity of Natural Presence
7. Cultivating Our Sensory Perceptions
8. Feeling Nostalgia for a Human Companion
9. Risking to Go Back Among Humans
10. Losing Oneself and Asking Nature for Help Again
11. Encountering Another Human in the Woods
12. Wondering How to Cultivate Our Living Energy
13. Could Gestures and Words Substitute for the Elements?
14. From Being Alone in Nature to Being Two in Love
15. Becoming Humans
16. Cultivating and Sharing Life Between All
Epilogue
Notes
Michael Marder
Prologue
1. Seeking Refuge in the Vegetal World
2. A Culture Forgetful of Life
3. Sharing Universal Breathing
4. The Generative Potential of the Elements
5. Living at the Rhythm of the Seasons
6. A Recovery of the Amazing Diversity of Natural Presence
7. Cultivating Our Sensory Perceptions
8. Feeling Nostalgia for a Human Companion
9. Risking to Go Back Among Humans
10. Losing Oneself and Asking Nature for Help Again
11. Encountering Another Human in the Woods
12. Wondering How to Cultivate Our Living Energy
13. Could Gestures and Words Substitute for the Elements?
14. From Being Alone in Nature to Being Two in Love
15. Becoming Humans
16. Cultivating and Sharing Life Between All
Epilogue
Notes
Index

About the Author

Luce Irigaray is director of research in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. She is the author of more than thirty books, the most recent of which are Sharing the World and In the Beginning, She Was.

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Among his books are Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life and The Philosopher's Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium.