Freedom in the Anthropocene

ISBN-13: 978-1137503879


While it is clear that the Holocene/Anthropocene transition marks the unprecedented transformation of human societies, scholars have not been able to account for what this transition entails, how it could give rise to our current ecological predicament, and how we might plausibly move beyond it. Without such an understanding, we are left with an inadequate analysis that creates the condition for ill-informed policy decisions and a self-sustaining cycle of unsuccessful attempts to ameliorate societally induced environmental degradation. Freedom in the Anthropocene illuminates our current ecological predicament by focusing on the issue of history and freedom and how it relates to our current inability to render environmental threats and degradation recognizable, and by extension, subject to its conscious and free overcoming by society. Working through the writings of three twentieth century critical theorists (Lukács, Adorno, and Postone), the authors argue that the idea of the Anthropocene is a historically specific reflection of helplessness, which only becomes possible at the close of the twentieth century.