Philosophy in the American West: A Geography of Thought, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Philosophy in the American West

A Geography of Thought, 1st Edition

Edited by Josh Hayes, Gerard Kuperus, Brian Treanor


232 pages

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Hardback: 9780367489502
pub: 2020-07-21
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Philosophy in the American West explores the physical, ecological, cultural, and narrative environments associated with the western United States, reflecting on the relationship between people and the places that sustain them.  

The American West has long been recognised as having significance. From Crèvecoeur’s early observations in Letters from an American Farmer (1782), to Thoreau’s reflections in Walden (1854), to twentieth-century thoughts on the legacy of a vanishing frontier, "the West" has played a pivotal role in the American narrative and in the American sense of self. But while the nature of "westernness" has been touched on by historians, sociologists, and, especially, novelists and poets, this collection represents the first attempt to think philosophically about the nature of "the West" and its influence on us. The contributors take up thinkers which have been associated with Continental Philosophy and pair them with writers, poets, and artists of "the West". And while this collection seeks to loosen the cords that tie philosophy to Europe, the traditions of "continental" philosophy—phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, and others—offer deep resources for thinking through the particularity of place.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Philosophy, as well as those working in Ecocriticism and the Environmental Humanities more broadly.

Table of Contents

List of contributors


  1. Introduction, Josh Hayes, Gerard Kuperus, Brian Treanor
  2. Continental Philosophy Beyond "the" Continent, Brian Treanor
  3. Prometheus’ Gift of Fire and Technics: Contemplating the Meaning of Fire, Affect, and Californian Pyrophytes in the Pyrocene, Marjolein Oele
  4. The West as Slaughterbench: Thinking without Revolutions in the American West, Christopher Lauer
  5. The End(s) of the West: The Time of Apocalypse in the Westerns of Cormac McCarthy, Amanda Parris
  6. The Trees of the West: Our Elders, Our Teachers, Andrew Jussaume
  7. Thinking Wolves, Thomas Thorpe
  8. Robert Smith, Entropic Art, and the West, Shannon M. Mussett
  9. "Westering" and "BreakingThrough": Zen Buddhism on Cannery Row, Gerard Kuperus
  10. Life in Interregnum: Deleuze, Guattari, and Atleo, Russell Duvernoy
  11. Monstrous Topologies: Edward Abbey, Reiner Schürmann, and the Fate of the American West, Josh Hayes
  12. Turtle Island Anarchy, Jason Wirth


About the Editors

Josh Hayes is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities at Alvernia University, USA.

Gerard Kuperus is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco, USA. 

Brian Treanor is Charles S. Casassa Chair and Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Ethics

Routledge Environmental Ethics

Series Editor: Benjamin Hale, University of Colorado, Boulder

The Routledge Environmental Ethics series aims to gather novel work on questions that fall at the intersection of the normative and the practical, with an eye toward conceptual issues that bear on environmental policy and environmental science. Recognizing the growing need for input from academic philosophers and political theorists in the broader environmental discourse, but also acknowledging that moral responsibilities for environmental alteration cannot be understood without rooting themselves in the practical and descriptive details, this series aims to unify contributions from within the environmental literature.

Books in this series can cover topics in a range of environmental contexts, including individual responsibility for climate change, conceptual matters affecting climate policy, the moral underpinnings of endangered species protection, complications facing wildlife management, the nature of extinction, the ethics of reintroduction and assisted migration, reparative responsibilities to restore, among many others.

We welcome book proposals from all branches of ethics, political theory, and philosophy more broadly, aiming to create a collection of work that touches on the most pressing environmental issues of our time. We favour manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively style that minimizes jargon. As our readership includes scholars and students from across the disciplinary spectrum, we also hope to support work that both brings practical relevance to theoretical questions for academics to further develop, but that also assists in conveying important conceptual insights to environmental policy makers, managers, and academics in other fields.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]) to discuss a proposal.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology