BSP Podcast: Kira Meyer on Ecophenomenology

podcast update

This episode of the BSP Podcast sees Kira Meyer presenting a paper from our 2022 annual conference, ‘Engaged Phenomenology II’.

Season 6 episode 135: 9 May 2024

Season 6 continues with another presentation from our 2022 annual conference, Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Spatiality. This episode features a presentation from Kira Meyer, Kiel University.

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Kira Meyer
‘Ecophenomenology as a Contribution to Transformation’

Engaged phenomenology does not only have the potential to transform socio-political realities and power relations between human beings, but also those between man and nature. Currently, anthropocentrism, namely the view that nature has only an instrumental value which is relative to the ends of human beings, governs these realities and relations. Phenomenology can contribute to transform them by including the lived body in the self-understanding of human beings. Understanding the lived body as the “nature that we are ourselves” (Böhme, 2019) would involve a different conception of nature as well: Man and nature wouldn’t be dichotomic anymore, rather human beings would be part of nature. Embracing such an ecophenomenological (cf. Brown and Toadvine, 2003) conception would have important normative implications. I will present them in three steps. Firstly, I argue that the instrumental value of nature for the fulfillment of human basic needs and health can be particularly well justified based on an ecophenomenological approach for it is precisely man’s corporeality by virtue of which he has these needs and through which health (or illness) manifest themselves. Secondly, sentience is inseparable from corporeality. Therefore, insofar as it is a concern of the ecophenomenological approach to take corporeality and its implications seriously, sentient beings deserve direct moral consideration. Thirdly, natural entities build an integral part of the good life of human beings, hence they deserve indirect moral consideration because of their eudaimonic value (Chan et al., 2016). As corporeal beings, humans can enjoy nature aisthetically, that is via their senses: The beautiful, the sublime, but also nature as home, as offering leisure and recreation, spirituality and transformation (Krebs et al., 2021). Taking corporeality into account, that is embracing an ecophenomenological account, thus leads to a deep anthropocentric position (Ott, 2016) and facilitates the transformation of current power relations and thereby shaped human-nature-relations.

Biography: Kira Meyer is a doctoral candidate in the field of environmental ethics at Kiel University. In her dissertation project she investigates the connection between the lived body and a relational understanding of freedom and argues on this basis for the compatibility of (strong) sustainability and freedom. Her research focuses on (eco-)phenomenology, new phenomenology, environmental ethics, and the concept of political freedom..

Further Information:

This recording is taken from our Annual UK Conference 2022: Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Sociality (Exeter, UK / Hybrid) with the University of Exeter. Sponsored by the Wellcome Centre, Egenis, and the Shame and Medicine project. For the conference our speakers either presented in person at Exeter or remotely to people online and in-room, and the podcast episodes are recorded from the live broadcast feeds.

The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP?