New Books Network

Michael Marder

Plant-Thinking

A Philosophy of Vegetal Life

Columbia University Press 2013

New Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 14, 2013 Carrie FIgdor

“If animals have suffered marginalization throughout the history of Western thought, then non-human, non-animal living beings, such as plants, have populated the margin of...

“If animals have suffered marginalization throughout the history of Western thought, then non-human, non-animal living beings, such as plants, have populated the margin of the margin”, a “zone of absolute obscurity” in which their mode of existence from a philosophical perspective is not even question-worthy. So writes Michael Marder, Ikerbasque Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country in the Basque autonomous region of Spain, in his new book, Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (Columbia University Press, 2013). The metaphor of “ground-breaking” has never been so apt. Contrasting his view with the Aristotelean perspective in which plants are basically defective animals, Marder initiates inquiry into the nature of vegetal life on its own terms, and into how human life currently encounters, and how it should encounter, this radically foreign mode of existence. Marder’s goal is nothing less than a sort of Nietzschean “revaluation of values” when it comes to vegetal life.