Hillary Oppelmayer

Research project: The End of the Concept of Nature in the Anthropocene

Abstract

The aim of this project is to contest with the "Crutzen-hypothesis" by challenging the declaration of the end of nature by the Anthropocene and exploring the concept of nature philosophically, ecologically and in a thermodynamic sense. By trying to create the strongest possible case against nature in this project, what kind of concept of nature would be still defensible at the raise of climate change activism? Or what concept of nature could be philosophically valid and pragmatically useful? Or have we actually come to the end of nature?

The project will investigate the traditional philosophical position of nature (Reiner Schürmann), ecological literature (Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Emma Marris, René Dubos, Howard Odum) and thermodynamics (Jeffrey Wicken, Eric Schneider/Dorion Sagan, Thomas Nail) to uncover each one's concept of nature, how they may differ, how they might abolish it, or try to find refuge in another discipline all together.

Biography

In 2019/2020, I obtained my BA in Art History from the University of Vienna. Then I completed my MA at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) in 2021. Since March of 2022, I am a PhD student at the CRMEP under the supervision of Howard Caygill and Stella Sanford. 

Areas of research interest

  • Contemporary Continental Philosophy & Critical Theory
  • "Nature"
  • Thermodynamics
  • Ecology
  • Geology

Qualifications

  • MA in Philosophy & Contemporary Critical Theory, Kingston University
  • BA in Art History, University of Vienna