Cover of Taking Turns with the Earth by Matthias Fritsch
Taking Turns with the Earth
Phenomenology, Deconstruction, and Intergenerational Justice
Matthias Fritsch

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October 2018
280 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9781503604940
Paper ISBN: 9781503606951
Digital ISBN: 9781503606968

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The environmental crisis, one of the great challenges of our time, tends to disenfranchise those who come after us. Arguing that as temporary inhabitants of the earth, we cannot be indifferent to future generations, this book draws on the resources of phenomenology and poststructuralism to help us conceive of moral relations in connection with human temporality. Demonstrating that moral and political normativity emerge with generational time, the time of birth and death, this book proposes two related models of intergenerational and environmental justice. The first entails a form of indirect reciprocity, in which we owe future people both because of their needs and interests and because we ourselves have been the beneficiaries of peoples past; the second posits a generational taking of turns that Matthias Fritsch applies to both our institutions and our natural environment, in other words, to the earth as a whole. Offering new readings of key philosophers, and emphasizing the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida in particular, Taking Turns with the Earth disrupts human-centered notions of terrestrial appropriation and sharing to give us a new continental philosophical account of future-oriented justice.

About the author

Matthias Fritsch is Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University.

"Matthias Fritsch brings clarity and depth to issues of environmental justice and responsibility for future generations through a close engagement with the work of Derrida, Levinas, and Arendt. This book is an indispensable resource for both continental and analytic philosophers seeking to understand what it means to live and die ethically on the earth."

—Lisa Guenther, Queen's University

"With characteristic precision and rigor, Matthias Fritsch has produced an original contribution to thinking about intergenerational justice and our relationship to the planet. Taking Turns with the Earth is an exemplary model for how to theorize pressing ethical and political issues through a creative inheritance of the philosophical tradition."

—Samir Haddad, Fordham University

"Intergenerational ethics is at the heart of many of the biggest problems facing humanity today, yet our theories, institutions, and practices remain inadequate to the challenge. This admirable book offers us an ontological approach that is distinctive, innovative, and an important contribution to our ethical self-understanding."

—Stephen M. Gardiner, University of Washington