Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 15, No 1 (2019)

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Shapeability. Revisiting Heidegger’s Concept of Being in the Anthropocene

Magdalena Hoły-Łuczaj

Abstract


Heidegger’s ontology can still be a resource for new trends in environmental ethics (e.g. postnatural environmentalism), if we draw upon his less frequently discussed concepts such as kinship of the physis and techne, or ‘proper use,’ which enables entities to manifest their identity. The Anthropocene condition prompts us, however, to reexamine the relationship between the act of using properly and that of using up, as laid out in Heidegger’s ontology. This will help to address the wider problem of whether beings in Heidegger can affect each other, mutually shaping each other’s identity, or peculiarity. I shall argue that Heidegger’s concept of being lacks the dimensions of shaping and being shaped by others. However, it is possible to revise his concepts of fundamental structures of being, such as temporality and worldliness, thereby creating the structure of shapeability of being, which would not be limited to human beings. This, in turn, can help elucidate one of the key dilemmas of the Anthropocene related to setting the boundary between footprint and harm.


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