State of Nature: Some Philosophical Issues

August 26th, 2018

How can the debate on the environmental crisis be re-politicized? Akeel Bilgrami points to the conceptual shortcomings of the term “Anthropocene” and argues in favor of anti-capitalist, radically cooperative perspectives.


The term of the “Anthropocene” emphasizes the ramifications of human interventions into the Earth system, but as Akeel Bilgrami points out, the term therefore has a tendency to hide the power asymmtries between groups of people and obscures the fact that the burden of responsibility is not distributed equally.

From this vantage point, Bilgrami stresses the importance of thinking critically about the interdepencence between global capitalism, ecology and human societies, rather than merely analyzing the shifting relations between humans and nature in order to effectively re-politicize debates around the current environmental crisis. Drawing on wider intellectual history, Bilgrami first discusses the connection between the rationality of capitalism, political liberalism, and societal alienation and secondly argues for a complete terminus of capitalist systems.