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Philosophy Today

Volume 60, Issue 4, Fall 2016

Special Topic: History, Today

Susanna Lindberg
Pages 975-988
DOI: 10.5840/philtoday2016114138

Natural History Today

This essay is a broad overview of philosophy’s capacity of facing the historicity of nature. It shows why classical philosophy of history, especially Hegel, left nature outside of history, and also in what sense this kind of philosophy is outdated. Then it shows how natural sciences discovered historical phenomena since the invention of biology at the very end of the eighteenth century and especially since Darwinism, although these did not examine the philosophical presuppositions of their theories. Assuming that the challenge of contemporary philosophy of history is to learn to include nature in history, the essay finally examines climatic change as a test case that allows us to see the problematics of nature’s historicity today. Climatic change cannot be explained if one holds onto the classical division into natural sciences and humanities, and this is because it is neither a natural nor a cultural phenomenon but manifests reality as a techno-nature, that has a singular, non-teleological and eventful historicity, the understanding of which is crucial today.

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