Issue Winter 2022, Vol.110, No.1
Editor Anthony Morgan
Editorial board Jana Bacevic, Darren Chetty, Alexander Douglas, Brian D. Earp, Adam Ferner, Moya Mapps, Alexis Papazoglou, Chiara Ricciardone, John Robinson, Andrés Saenz De Sicilia, Lauren Slater, Olúfémi O. Táíwò, Lani Watson, Peter West
Website, social media, and more Olive Richardson, Keren Bester, Emil Kunna, Joanna Ciafone
Design William Eckersley
Cover Nick Halliday (hallidaybooks.com)
Art consultant Joanna Borkowska
Over four issues to be published in 2022, The New Basics will consider 50 “keywords” on four themes: 1) Planet, 2) Society, 3) Person, and 4) Philosophy, providing a provocative introduction to central concepts, one that excavates the seismic intellectual and social changes of the past half-century. The keyword entries will emphasize the shifting and conditional nature of the vocabularies we are generating, eschewing the individualistic “brain in a vat” search for universal, ahistorical truths. They will retain the open-ended quest for meaning specific to the best of the philosophical tradition.
This opening issue on “Planet” offers new possibilities for thinking through and living in the “Anthropocene” – the term that is increasingly used to define a new planetary era in which humans have become a planet-changing force through inflicting geologic intrusions, biological disturbances, or climatic alterations. The short, accessible essays in this issue offer powerful snapshots of what it means to live in a time of seismic change. To adapt a quotation from Travis Holloway’s new book, they are all “a response to the end of the world as we know it against the spectre of catastrophic climate change”.
Planetary questions are richly philosophical ones. The essays that follow cover ontology, ethics, political theory, feminist philosophy, and decolonial philosophy, as well as branching out into history, economics, and physics. In the opening essay, Jeff Sebo asks: “If our treatment of animals is worsening global health and environmental threats, how are we to treat them?” Alexander Douglas asks: “We are told that capitalism is destroying the planet, but what is capitalism?” Malcom Ferdinand asks: “Upon which stories of the Earth do we rely when we talk about the ecological crisis?” Michael Marder asks: “What does the emerging ethical ideal of connectedness do to actual and possible relations?” Erin R. Pineda asks: “In a world on fire, is there time for disobedience?” Simona Capisani asks: “How is the right to being in a livable space hindered by a shifting human climate niche?” Thomas Nail asks: “What are the planetary consequences of philosophy’s preference for stasis over movement?” Pierre Charbonnier asks: “What are we to do now that our traditional political categories are no longer fit for purpose?” Romy Opperman asks: “Do planetary ethics require us to reappraise the concept of racism?” Nancy Tuana asks: “What are the sensibilities we need to cultivate in order to change our ways of living?” Simone M. Müller asks: “What kind of collectivity is possible in an age of the toxic commons?” Finally, Travis Holloway asks: “Are stories about catastrophic weather contributing to a reinvention of epic or grand narrative?”
Other highlights in this issue include: Jana Bacevic explores lived experience via Simone de Beauvoir and Sara Ahmed; Donovan Irven enters into the debate over free will from an Existentialist perspective; Paul C. Taylor discusses the evolution of race-thinking; and Jason Blakely is none too impressed by Steven’s Pinker’s Rationality. It has been a great honour to work with artist Blane De St. Croix and I am grateful to him for permission to use his stunning images in this issue.
Anthony Morgan, Editor