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Have We Ever Been Planetary?

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Abstract

In response to the rise of interest in the notion of the planetary among environmental historians and philosophers, and likewise reacting to the current wave of interest in returning to space and the proclaimed birth of Space 2.0, this essay considers the somewhat provocative question as to whether we have indeed ever been planetary. The answer that we offer is no. We support this claim based on historical considerations on the inseparability of our current understanding of the planet with the human expansion into outer space. Stated rather more precisely, but also somewhat paradoxically: humankind only became aware of itself as a planetary species by becoming a post-planetary species. Our argument then is that the current rhetoric proclaiming that we live in a planetary age needs to be revised to take into account the extra-planetary dimension in our supposedly planetary existence. The remainder of the essay attempts to rapidly sketch what it might mean to begin to think critically about our current historical situation in post-planetary terms, with a particular focus on culture, ecology, economics, and politics. Many philosophers, historians, and critical theorists are now telling us that we live in a planetary age, characterized by a planetary consciousness and a need to confront planetary challenges such as global climate change. 1 Arguably, the birth of this planetary age, what Alexander Geppert has 1 The number of texts articulating this perspective is literally overwhelming. An incomplete selection might include:
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Dates and versions

hal-03466090 , version 1 (04-12-2021)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03466090 , version 1

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Brad Samuel Tabas. Have We Ever Been Planetary?. AAG 2021, Apr 2021, Baltimore, United States. ⟨hal-03466090⟩
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