Given the worsening poverty and environmental crises characteristic of contemporary global capitalism, questions about sustainable human development are surely becoming absolutely central for all 21st century socialist thinkers. Although Marx already had a profound grasp of the broader “metabolic rift” between humanity and nature produced by capitalism, the topic has not until recently entered debates in classical Marxist economics and critical theory alike, despite the fact that the concept of nature has been at the center of both traditions from the beginning. In the meantime, abstract concepts such as “nature” have been deepened and elaborated by theories that emerged out of eco-feminism, eco-socialism, animal ethics, and critical environmental philosophy. The question for environmental philosophy in the tradition of Marxism and critical theory, then, is to ask which environment we want to live in and which social practices we need in order to develop a world that no longer is hostile to the earth as one of the two major sources of social wealth. What critical theory can offer to the environmental studies and environmental philosophy community as well as to activists are analyses of social and economic concepts that underlie general conceptions of nature, ecology, non-human animals, environment, and its political, social, and ethical implications. Marxist philosophy offers a substantial theory of the social-economic form that determines our capitalist world and opens up the possibility of envisioning a post-capitalist future. This interdisciplinary workshop will bring critical theorists in sociology, economics and philosophy together with the broader community of environmental philosophers and ecological researchers.

This event has been made possible by generous support from the Philosophy Department; the College of Arts and Letters; the Timnick Chair in the Humanities, and the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics.


Christian Lotz
Professor of Philosophy

Michigan State University
Department of Philosophy
503 South Kedzie Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

The workshop is free and open to the public, but we would much appreciate it if you could RSVP by April 1, 2016, via email (lotz@msu.edu).