Inside the Anthropocene

Uwe Voigt


This paper deals with the question, what does it mean to be inside the Anthropocene? In order to answer this question in the first place one hasto have a notion of what the Anthropocene is. There is a seemingly simple factual answer. Subsequently it is argued that this answer is correct, but that it is not the only one, and that the plurality of possible answers in turn is due to the circumstance that there is more than one sense of “being inside the Anthropocene.” Three senses are going to be distinguished: an ‘outer’ sense, which deals with the mentioned factual level; an ‘inner,’ which takes account of the mental side of the Anthropocene; and an ‘inmost’ sense, which is based on the assumption that, for this mental side of the Anthropocene, there is an according mind which is going to be called “hypersubject.” Admittedly, the discussion proceeding along these senses does not only proceed from work in progress, but will also become more and more speculative, hopefully in a non-toxic way, as the attempt to find out what it would look like if it were so in order as to enable and encourage the attempt to look at it as if it is so. All of this is meant to be a step towards a hermeneutics of the Anthropocene: a deeper understanding of what it means to be a subject inside the Anthropocene.

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