Naught Thought on Morton

I admit I’m a bit confused about what the critique is. On the one hand, Morton is really arguing that strategically “nature” as a term is unusable, and frankly it’s stop-gap term for all manner of paradoxical arguments. thus nature is both immanent and transcendent, etc. I think the point about its transcendence is crucial and I find it straightforward, but Naught Thought disagrees.

As long as nature ocillates between transcendence and substance (and is neglected as process) as it is doomed to be according to Morton, there is no chance of understanding the posthumanaties without the specter of anthrocentrism.

I’m not sure what this means. I think this suggests that Morton is giving a definitive meaning to “nature” and then critiquing nature. But what he’s doing is a genealogy of the term, which is different, and he argues, too, that as long as the term is used, “anthropocentrism” remains (he even goes so far as to argue that the charge of anthropocentrism is anthropocentrism, though I don’t really follow that part of the argument). I’m open to finding some means for rethinking nature (with or without ecology) but I’m not sure what direction Naught Thought is going. Is it that nature is being abandoned by Morton to discuss only cultural practices? If so, then he’s misunderstood Morton’s whole project. If it’s for some other reason, then it would be good to hear…


  1. I do get the concern, though. The ecologists I talk to don’t want to completely get rid of the philosophical concept of nature. And Morton’s book feels like it is mostly a work of literally criticism or rhetoric, rather than metaphysics, and leads Zizek (whose stuff on ecology is almost entirely cribbed, badly, from Morton) to say some really ridiculously stupid things (ecologists don’t know what to do with trash? come on!). However, Morton’s article in the recent Collapse, which he takes from his new book, seemed a lot more promising and convinced me that I had to read it.

  2. I think that’s the point of The Ecological Thought, which is a “pre-quel” to Ecology without Nature (though written later). I’m not saying that it answers all of these questions, but it’s far more “metaphysical” and uses literary references but is not lit crit.

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