1st Edition

Heidegger in the Face of the Environmental Question The Immanence of Life

By Enrique Leff Copyright 2024

    This volume engages with the work of Heidegger to argue that the modern environmental crisis is fundamentally a crisis of understanding Life, resulting from the symbolic codification of the world from the Logos of Greek philosophy to the rationality of the modern world and resulting in a metaphysics that privileges ontological thinking on the "question of being" over the environmental question and the concern for the conditions of life.

    Exploring the work of the three principal thinkers of the Lebensphilosophie— Bergson, Dilthey, and Husserl—it charts the itinerary of Heidegger’s work and exposes its conflicts with the work of Marx, Plessner, Haar, and Derrida. A critical argument against the colonization of the world by Eurocentric reason and for the deconstruction of Capital, Heidegger in the Face of the Environmental Question draws on Latin American environmental thought to re-think the conditions for life on Earth.

    It will therefore appeal to scholars of philosophy, political theory, and political sociology with interests in environmental philosophy, political ecology, and socioeconomic transformation.

    1. Prolegomena

    Humanity before the Environmental Question

    From the Chaos of the Universe to the Order of Life on Earth: The History of The Being and Destiny of the Ways of Being in the World

    The Crossroads of Life on the Pathways of Thought

    The Call of the Environmental Crisis: Thinking Within Life

    2. Being/Life: Heidegger in Face of the Environmental Question

    Lebensphilosophie, Phenomenology of Life and Existential Ontology

    Henri Bergson: The Creative Evolution of life

    Wilhelm Dilthey: Erlebnis and the Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences

    Edmund Husserl: Lebenswelt and Transcendental Phenomenology

    3. The Phenomenology of Life and the Facticity of Human Existence


    Hermeneutics of Facticity: the Being of Dasein

    Life and Existence: the Time of Being and the Savoir of Life

    Being and Time: Being-towards-death and the Ontological Estrangement of Life

    Helmuth Plessner: the Levels of the Organic Life and the Human

    Ontological Difference and Sexual Difference: Being and Geschlecht

    4. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, the Ontological Turn and the Order of Life

    Φύσις and the Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics

    Michel Haar: The Work of Art, the Voice of Φύσις and the Song of the Earth

    Grounding Life on Earth, Timeless Times, and the Stimmung of Existence

    The World of Gestell, the Question Concerning Technology and the Ontological Regime of Capital

    Economy as the Efficient Cause of Gestell: the crossing of the line of life in the total mobilization of the world

    The Turn of Ereignis: the Plunging of Being and the Rooting of Life

    Gelassenheit: the rule of technique and the unbinding of life

    5. The Environmental Question and the Paths of Thinking: the history of being and the immanence of life

    The Ungroundedness of Being and the Sustainability of Life

    The Un-knowable Savoir of Life: Towards an Environmental Rationality, an Ethic for Life and a Dialogue of Knowledges/savoirs

    Ereignis des Lebens and das Geviert in the Life Constellations of the Peoples of the Earth

    The Historical Turn towards the Sustainability of Life in the Immanence of Life


    Enrique Leff is Emeritus Professor in the Institute for Social Research and the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Emeritus Researcher at the National Council of Humanities, Science and Technology, Mexico. He was the former Coordinator of the Environmental Training Network for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations Environment Program. He is the author of Political Ecology: Deconstructing Capital and Territorializing Life (2021) and Green Production: Towards an Environmental Rationality (1995).