Rebuilding Trust in Times of Elemental Loss: Philosophical Reflections on Water, Fire, Air and Earth

5:00PM - 7:00PM
Fromm Hall 115 - Berman Room

Reception at 5:00pm, Presentation at 5:30pm

This event will be offered in person and online. Please RSVP to attend in person, or register for Zoom.

The 2022-23 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chair Marjolein Oele (Philosophy) will discuss her new monograph, Elemental Loss: Shifting Constellations of Water, Fire, Air, and Earth, a philosopher’s attempt to grapple with the deep yet enigmatic sense of loss that is brought about by climate change. Elemental Loss endeavors to explain the puzzle of how loss in times of climate change is based on infinitesimal changes over time, and so is unlike the loss of a loved one or any other loss of an individual being that can be experienced as an “event.”  By drawing upon the classical theories of the elements of water, fire, air, and earth (famously thematized by Pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales and Empedocles) and by re-engineering them for the present, Professor Oele offers us an innovative understanding of loss in times of climate change. She will suggest ways to transform our experience of elemental loss into a capacity for elemental change, reinstilling a sense of belonging, and opening up futures beyond the Anthropocene.