Environmental Philosophy

Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2021

Don Beith
Pages 259-278

From Biomimicry to Biosophia
Ecologies of Technology in Benyus, Oxman, Fisch, and Merleau-Ponty

Biomimicry promises great progress in ecological design. Advocates, hinging on the work of Janine Benyus, argue that biomimicry enhances sustainable technologies. This essay suggests conceptual and ethical improvements to biomimicry: first by considering Michael Fisch’s concept of bioinspiration through studying Neri Oxman’s Silkworm Pavilion and second, through the articulation of a new concept of biosophia, drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s late Institution and Nature lectures. His investigation of seemingly impossible proto-mimicry prior to perception discloses a deeper comportment toward biomimicry, revealing its conditions of possibility in intercorporeal expressivity. Biosophia grounds a deeper ethic of collaboration with other lifeforms.