cover image Plant-Thinking:
A Philosophy of Vegetal Life

Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life

Michael Marder. Columbia Univ., $29.50 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-231-16125-1

Marder (The Event of the Thing: Derrida’s Post-Deconstructive Realism), a professor of philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, offers an ambitious and opaque meditation on the philosophical significance of plant life. Best left to professional philosophers and likely inaccessible for lay readers, the affirmation of “plants’ potential to resist the logic of totalization” is frequently more an excuse to cover the author’s knowledge of Heidegger or Nietzsche, among others, than a polemical guide to the practice of plant thinking. Still, in its relentless dissection, the work breeds its own kind of rhythm, lulling the reader into a parallel world of “‘plant soul’” and “plant time,” in which the natural and artificial blend. Ultimately, this microlens on plant being is a refraction of the human existence and experience of the world, made clearer by what it is not. (Mar.)