Jedediah Purdy and Norman Wirzba Discuss New Anthropocene Project on The State of Things

Credit Donn Young / Duke University

On August 25, Jedediah Purdy and Norman Wirzba appeared on WUNC’s The State of Things to talk about their new project, Facing the Anthropocene, funded by the Luce Foundation and housed at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

The Anthropocene names the idea that humans are now the main force driving the future of the planet. Humans have changed the makeup of the atmosphere and remade the surface of the earth. Purdy and Wirzba are coordinating with scholars from different fields, both senior academics and graduate students, to discuss how academia and its respective fields must rethink basic questions and assumptions in order to respond this reality.

Frank Stasio, Wirzba, and Purdy discussed how theology, law, philosophy, and technology can help us address environmental crises, but also ways in which each discipline has fallen short or failed to do so in the past. Purdy argued that all law is now environmental law; we must develop vocabularies and institutions that make us responsible not only to other humans but also to other creatures. Wirzba spoke of the importance of rehabilitating a language of the sacred and the urgent need for humans to reflect on who we are and makes for a good human life.

Listen to the interview on WUNC’s website.

On September 27th, Facing the Anthropocene will present its first biannual Luce Lecture, Climate Crisis/Climate Hope: A Conversation with Bill McKibben, at 5 p.m. in Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus. The event is free and open to the public.