The Philosopher's Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium

Paperback | November 11, 2014

byMichael MarderIllustratorMathilde Roussel

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Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and even grass; and recommended appropriate medicinal, dietary, and aesthetic approaches to select species of plants.

In this book, Michael Marder illuminates the vegetal centerpieces and hidden kernels that have powered theoretical discourse for centuries. Choosing twelve botanical specimens that correspond to twelve significant philosophers, he recasts the development of philosophy through the evolution of human and plant relations. A philosophical history for the postmetaphysical age, The Philosopher's Plant reclaims the organic heritage of human thought. With the help of vegetal images, examples, and metaphors, the book clears a path through philosophy's tangled roots and dense undergrowth, opening up the discipline to all readers.

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From the Publisher

Despite their conceptual allergy to vegetal life, philosophers have used germination, growth, blossoming, fruition, reproduction, and decay as illustrations of abstract concepts; mentioned plants in passing as the natural backdrops for dialogues, letters, and other compositions; spun elaborate allegories out of flowers, trees, and eve...

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, UPV-EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz. He is the author of The Event of the Thing: Derrida's Post-Deconstructive Realism; Groundless Existence: The Political Ontology of Carl Schmitt; Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:November 11, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231169035

ISBN - 13:9780231169035

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Extra Content

Read from the Book

Read "Herbarium Philosophicum," the Prologue to The Philosopher's Plant

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrologue: Herbarium PhilosophicumPart I: Ancient Plant-Souls1. Plato's Plane Tree2. Aristotle's Wheat3. Plotinus' Anonymous "Great Plant"Part II. Medieval Plant-Instruments4. Augustine's Pears5. Avicenna's Celery6. Maimonides' Palm TreePart III. Modern Plant-Images7. Leibniz's Blades of Grass8. Kant's Tulip9. Hegel's GrapesPart IV: Postmodern Plant-Subjects10. Heidegger's Apple Tree11. Derrida's Sunflowers12. Irigaray's Water LilyNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

[The Philosopher's Plant] provides provocative insight into the significance of plant life in the evolution of philosophical thought.... Recommended.