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Prolegomena to Ecological Thinking in Heidegger
Author: James Fontini
"Nature as Limit" provides an account of Nature in terms of the collapse of the subject-object binary, presenting Heidegger’s work as a series of prolegomena toward a prospective ecological thought. This begins with a critical re-evaluation of the homology Heidegger discovers between the essence of technology and the trajectory of Western metaphysics, with special attention paid to his return to Aristotle’s Physics in 1939. The essence of technology is, in fact, an intrinsic aspect of Nature. It lies at the heart of all structured appearance as an autonomous occurrence in which humankind is entangled but cannot master. Examining and expanding upon the consequences of this, the book reimagines technics and our understanding of Nature as ‘technical image’ and beyond. The question of Nature becomes that of an unwavering finitude within the endless recycling of formal phenomenality. Transfiguring Heidegger’s concept of Ereignis and critiquing in passing some of its accepted interpretations, the book argues that Nature is a process or occurrence of limitation. It is a delimitation that both sets in motion and keeps in motion without itself ever coming into the picture. It is an uncapturable immanence in the total field of phenomena, irreducible to any presence and thus implicating an ‘absence’ at the heart of every occurrence, an incompletedness of any naturalism. This view of Nature is further explored through a series of figures of localization—Dasein, thing, clearing, et al.— that raise strange and compelling questions about time, space, and history, and which lead finally to a re-characterization of Dasein as an inversion of its environment as ecological awareness. These adventurous considerations push at the outer limits of what Heidegger’s philosophy can accomplish and conclude with a vision of how the motifs of death, poetry, and the unknowable help form the fundamental questions of ecological thought. "Nature as Limit" confronts Heidegger’s use of language on its own terms, exploring the full breadth of its intention, then proceeds to a demystification of that language, a reappraisal that offers a new lexicon for future readers. At stake is a reading of a rather unfamiliar Heidegger that nonetheless remains faithful to his text and rigorous in its reconstruction.