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Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Posthumanities)

Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Posthumanities) [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”—entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and their impact on how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how we experience our politics, ethics, and art.

Moving fluidly between philosophy, science, literature, visual and conceptual art, and popular culture, the book argues that hyperobjects show that the end of the world has already occurred in the sense that concepts such as world, nature, and even environment are no longer a meaningful horizon against which human events take place. Instead of inhabiting a world, we find ourselves inside a number of hyperobjects, such as climate, nuclear weapons, evolution, or relativity. Such objects put unbearable strains on our normal ways of reasoning.

Insisting that we have to reinvent how we think to even begin to comprehend the world we now live in, Hyperobjects takes the first steps, outlining a genuinely postmodern ecological approach to thought and action.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2670 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (23 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FP9EI5Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,680 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Thought for the day? All humanists should immediately receive remedial math and science lessons.

Doings in the present? Thinking about ecology, matter, Buddhism, philosophy, aesthetics, Romantic to contemporary literature, art, music.

Where? The University of California, Davis.

Is my new book about Darwin? Yes.

Born? London, UK, 1968.

Educated? Oxford.

Jobs? Oxford, Princeton, New York University, University of Colorado at Boulder, UC Davis.

Misspent youth? Spectrum, Love, Land of Oz, Rage, Earth, Sound Factory (them were the days).

This involved music? Senser, psychedelic dance metal heads.

What other music have I done without regret? Experimental noise improvisation with my Argentinian friend Miguel Galperin; playing with Mike Snyder in my band Rubyliquid. All I have left is Logic...

Enjoy it when: people like my purple house.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent new book from Tim Morton 22 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World', is quite simply brilliant. Morton offers much-needed and refreshing insight into global warming in particular - a must read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It makes me think differently 20 Mar 2014
By Reviewer11922 - Published on
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I am a little over halfway through the book, and I am enjoying it. I am in the applied social sciences, and my research examines how social systems and ecological systems influence each other, so I welcome anything that helps me to think creatively on that matter. I also am not a philosopher, so I don't know if I am really the best to judge the quality of ideas in this book.

One thing I am not so sure about though. Our brains weed out the large majority of the sensory information that hits us. Which means we continually only have partial pictures or models in our head of pretty much everything. So, doesn't that make everything a hyperobject? Isn't that kind of the basis of phenomenology in general?

Anyway, it is an interesting read so far, and I am enjoying trying to apply the concepts Merton is using, although I don't know if I will stick with this framework.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consilience of ecophilosophy at it's best 28 Nov 2013
By J. E. Williams - Published on
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Occasionally, a new book comes along with a concept so startling that you never see the world in the same way again. Hyperobjects is such a book. Concepts, ideas, and entities that Morton terms "hyperobjects" challenge and then defeat traditional thinking about how the worlds works. This way of thinking is critical to fully understanding the consequences of climate change, the technology revolution, chemicalization of the environment, and the coming paradigm shift resulting from the confluence of these changes. Transformational thinking, such as Morton presents in Hyperobjects, is not the first step - that occurred in the 1970s with the whole earth concept and later presented as the Gaia hypothesis - it's the first leap into comprehending the world we live in now and that near future generations will inhabit.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read 4 Jun 2014
By brian rubaie - Published on
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Really enjoyed it. Ecology is much more interesting to me now, and Morton's way of approaching and blending subjects like global warming, oil, Heidegger, capitalism, Wall-E, Nietzsche, sustainability, Monty Python, Buddhism, Aristotle, the Beatles, the Talking Heads, etc. all so seamlessly is great. Most aspects of OOO, and traits of hyperobjects like viscosity and undulation, are still beyond me. Nonetheless, it remained a challenging, fun, awareness-enhancing read. Morton works hard and does well to communicate difficult ideas in thoughtful and creative ways, even to novices.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very recommended! 15 Sep 2014
By Paul - Published on
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pretty interesting book, definitely recommended to anyone interested in ecological thinking and fresh philosophy
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postmodern impenetrability + revelatory concepts = a book worth reading. 21 Aug 2014
By WTL - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like it - the concept of hyperobjects and the science behind it, that is. But I'm understanding maybe a third of it. Maybe that has something to do with Morton's own confessed post-modernism - well, I'm not really sure he confessed that because, as with too much else in his book, he's unclear, or writes unclearly, or something down there at the muddy end of the clarity spectrum. For example, on page 1, he tells us what properties hyperobjects have in common. He names and defines those properties - except for one, which he only names: high-dimensional phase space "that results in their being invisible to humans for stretches of time." WARNING: if you look up high-dimensional phase space in Wikipedia, your brain may explode. Maybe that happened to Morton, which is why he left this definition out.

Of course, it's hard to know whether that omission makes any difference. To wit:
• "The Kantian gap between phenomenon and thing places the idea of substances decorated with accidents under extreme pressure."
• "[Hyperobjects] are entities that become visible through post-Humean statistical causality--a causality that is actually better for realism than simply positing the existence of glass spheres on which the fixed stars rotate, to give one example."
• "Hyperobjects provoke irreductionist thinking, that is, they present us with scalar dilemmas in which ontotheological statements about which thing is the most real (ecosystems, world, environment, or conversely, individual) becomes impossible. Likewise, irony qua absolute distance also becomes inoperative. Rather than a vertiginous antirealist abyss, irony presents us with intimacy with existing nonhumans."

And this is just in the introduction. I got through Chapter 1, "Viscosity", somewhat intact (though my wife might choose to differ...). But right now I'm stuck in Chapter 2, "Nonlocality", which gets deep (for me) into quantum theory. To wit: "Unlike the Copenhagen Interpretation, the ontological interpretation is noncorrelationist: particles withdraw from one another, not because humans are observing them in certain ways, but because the implicate order is withdrawn from itself." Upon reading this passage (which is unfortunately typical of this English professor) you may think, as I did, "Shoot me now!" And after all, Morton cites approvingly the psychoanalyst Félix Guattari, whom ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins savaged for writing this monstrosity: "We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously." (cue man running through tunnel of madness shrieking wildly...)

But Morton is as forgivable as he is impenetrable. I'm not sure you have to understand everything or even half of what he's saying to grasp what he's getting at, because scattered throughout this impenetrable-except-to-postmodernists mangling of the English language are surprisingly, even shockingly (for Morton) direct and clear observations. Like when he tells us that hyperobjects are in us and we in them with the analogy of rear-view mirror warnings: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." Just when you think you've been wasting your time - or rather, that HE has been wasting your time, namedropping Heidegger and Hume, Derrida, Kant and Meillassoux (who?) - Morton segues from Plato and Socrates to My Bloody Valentine, whose music assaults him from the inside, music he finds beautiful but that has made his ears bleed and that he thinks might be able to liquefy his internal organs, send him into seizures and maybe even kill him; "To be killed by intense beauty; what a Keatsian way to die."

The thing is - and believe it or not after so much obtuse language, the concept actually begins to take root even in normal (that is, non-postmodernist) brains - hyperobjects make sense, and they do that in a revelatory, ah-hah! kind of way, like all the apparently contradictory facts and questions you've always had about life gradually take on a coherence you hadn't thought possible after years of just trying to muddle through without understanding what was really going on around you. And, as Morton points out, IN you.

A good book. Okay, so this Brit English professor should apologize for his brutality toward his own language. But still. It's an eye-opener, and on a long plane ride it can even be an eye-closer. Can't beat that combination.
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