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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

If the human can no longer be considered central to the world, how is the question of knowing affected? How does one know when one is thrown into the box of the Anthropocene, where being everywhere cannot be equated to being central to everything? This Chapter connects issues of the posthuman, in terms of methodology and as an ontological position, to the more specific issues of environmental degradation. The path followed is neither one of binarisms (such as anthropo/ecocentrism), nor one of third terms or third spaces which have thus far all too comfortably ‘solved’ the problem of human suprematism. Rather, the text begins in a space of ontological exposure and vulnerability, a space of continuum that is characterized by human/nonhuman indistinguishability. Yet, amidst this space of rapid flows and epochal pauses, human responsibility emerges more powerfully than any other. This is a situated responsibility that requires a deep ethical understanding of the position of each body with regard to the assemblage of which it is part. Finally, the text ends with a description of the main challenges of what I have called Critical Environmental Law.

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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Legal aesthetics is increasingly less about looking at law and aesthetics or art together, and rather about understanding the aesthetic practices the law employs in order to prove itself socially relevant. This is not an isolated legal phenomenon but largely a consequence of a shift in aesthetics as a whole, from the ontology of definition (beauty, art, sublime) to the new ontology of apparition (or staging). This means that the law must stage itself in a consumer-oriented way, to market itself in a socially engaging way, and to package itself in a media-appetising way in order to legitimise itself and its continuous social role. From the society of discipline (Foucault) to that of control (Deleuze), and now to that of self-staging, the law deals with the need for legitimation by marketing itself as desirable. This legal ‘selfie’, as it were, relies on manipulation of affects to generate an atmosphere in which the law can carry on proving itself relevant. In this chapter, after surveying the established connection between law and art/aesthetics, I engage with the shift from aesthetics of definition to aestheses of immersion, namely immersion into affects that involve sensorial and emotional responses. In order to demonstrate this empirically, I look into the experimental performance ‘No Feedback’ (London 2015) that dealt with issues of atmosphere engineering, distinction as aesthetic choice and aesthesic immersion.

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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

In an attempt to bring critical environmental law to a discussion with the current planetary challenges such as the Anthropocene and climate change, and understand the methodological challenges that ensues from such a discussion, I suggest three basic tenets from which environmental law can be examined: grammar, perspective and methodology. Grammar refers to the need for new concepts and ways of connecting the various bodies that participate in and consist of the environment. To this effect, I suggest some terms, such as continuum/rupture, human/nonhuman/inhuman, as well as geologic immersion and planetary withdrawal. Perspective refers to the way current thinking changes or at least is affected by the Anthropocene. Finally, methodology refers to the way critical environmental law must find ways to seek knowledge and the epistemological presuppositions of the limits of such knowledge. In conclusion, I offer four methodological demands of critical environmental law in order for the latter to adapt methodologically and integrate the Anthropocenic grammar and perspective.

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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

This is a radical meditation on the space of ontological vulnerability as the awareness of being existentially exposed. This space, conceptualised as a space of ‘the middle’ (as opposed, emphatically, to ‘the centre’), offers an opportunity to think away from the sterile debate on eco/anthropocentricity and from such limiting hierarchies as animal/human, human/environmental, natural/artificial. This new, vulnerable position of the middle allows the reconfiguration of ecological processes, and more specifically the position of environmental law in relation to them. Environmental law now finds itself amidst a new, moving, ‘open ecology’ of social, biological and ecological processes. This is a new, radical conceptualisation of what the author has called ‘critical environmental law’, based upon an epistemology of observation and an ontology of being part of this open ecology. Environmental law, in this light, is simultaneously reformulated as an invitation to disciplinary and ontological openness and yet a call to remain immanent within existing legal structures. This finds expression in four critical environmental positions that set the stage for the further elaboration of a critical environmental law.

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Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brooks

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Edited by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brooks

This timely Handbook brings innovative, free-thinking and radical approaches to research methods in environmental law. With a comprehensive approach it brings together key concepts such as sustainability, climate change, activism, education and Actor-Network Theory. It considers how the Anthropocene subjects environmental law to critique, and to the needs of the variety of bodies, human and non-human, that require its protection. This much-needed book provides a theoretically informed analysis of methodological approaches in the discipline, such as constitutional analysis, rights-based approaches, spatial/geographical analysis, immersive methodologies and autoethnography, which will aid in the practical critique and re-imagining of Environmental Law.