Nature as Event

The Lure of the Possible

Book Pages: 112 Illustrations: Published: October 2017

Author: Didier Debaise

Translator: Michael Halewood

Cultural Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Theory and Philosophy

We have entered a new era of nature. What remains of the frontiers of modern thought that divided the living from the inert, subjectivity from objectivity, the apparent from the real, value from fact, and the human from the nonhuman? Can the great oppositions that presided over the modern invention of nature still claim any cogency? In Nature as Event, Didier Debaise shows how new narratives and cosmologies are necessary to rearticulate that which until now had been separated. Following William James and Alfred North Whitehead, Debaise presents a pluralistic approach to nature. What would happen if we attributed subjectivity and potential to all beings, human and nonhuman? Why should we not consider aesthetics and affect as the fabric that binds all existence? And what if the senses of importance and value were no longer understood to be exclusively limited to the human?


“The takeaway of Debaise’s careful analysis is a robust and persuasive understanding of the ontology of affect, and affect as valuation–the feeling of the world in its allness and being moved by it according to what is of interest and importance to the societies we are and are becoming.” — M. Gail Hamner, affecognitive

"As Debaise puts it: 'What is needed is a philosophy that, in its very form, its ambition and its manners of relating to things, can grant due importance to the deeply plural experience of nature.' This is the philosophy to which Debaise has opened us in his reading of Whitehead."

— Patricia Ticineto Clough, Critical Inquiry

"Nature as Event is a remarkable rendering of Whitehead's most difficult points of philosophy. With his slow, light, and extremely clever touch, Didier Debaise has a unique ability to make speculative philosophy understandable to everybody, artists as well as social scientists and humanists. One will never find another book that makes the notion of the 'eternal object' commonsensical. A great read." — Bruno Latour, author of An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns

“This remarkable book may serve as an introduction to Whitehead's thought due to its brevity, beautiful clarity, and quality of its argumentation. But it is much more than that: it is a very original and thought-provoking contribution to philosophy and humanities that is motivated by the concerns of our time. Didier Debaise renders the thorniest questions intelligible and characterizes concepts in such a way that readers feel each concept intensifying an aspect of their experience. A deeply rewarding book.” — Isabelle Stengers, author of In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Didier Debaise is a permanent researcher at the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), director of the Research Center in Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the author and editor of several books in French.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction  1
1. The Cosmology of the Moderns  3
2. A Universal Mannerism  39
3. The Intensification of Experience  77
Notes  87
Bibliography  99
Index  103
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6948-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6933-2
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