The “Anthropocene” in Global Change Science: Expertise, the Earth, and the Future of Humanity

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Abstract

In this chapter I show how and why geoscientists in various disciplines have been speaking for the Earth in the particular ways they have in recent years. As I will explain, the ‘onset’ of the Anthropocene is not simply a scientific question: the science is inevitably freighted with extra-scientific baggage. This speaks to my second aim: to give readers the tools necessary to be neither passive recipients of geoscientific claims nor over-zealous critics doubtful about these claims’ robustness. Even if we were to query the science (on evidential or ontological grounds), we might still have very good reasons to take very seriously the normative implications of what people are currently doing to the planet. Likewise, even if we accept the assumptions, findings and predictions of the science, its implications can only be understood in extra-scientific contexts without which science loses all meaning and purpose. Either way, I will argue, a set of arguments about ‘nature’ are in play that are irreducible to their scientific components yet which would lack public credibility without being advanced by geoscientists in the first instance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANTHROPOCENE ENCOUNTERS
Subtitle of host publicationNEW DIRECTIONS IN GREEN POLITICAL THINKING
EditorsFrank Biermann, Eva Lovbrand
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Chapter2
Pages25-49
Number of pages25
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781108646673
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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