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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Marco Caracciolo


'Climate Change/Adultery': Bridging Levels of Reality Through Narrative.

Dr. Marco Caracciolo
University of Groningen
Comparative Literature

'Climate Change/Adultery': Bridging Levels of Reality Through Narrative.
When Oct 17, 2016
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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In a recent book on the philosophy of climate change, Dale Jamieson writes: "Climate change poses threats that are probabilistic, multiple, indirect, often invisible, and unbounded in space and time. . . . Evolution did not design us to deal with such problems" (2014, 61). Likewise, narrative did not develop to address such problems, because it is a practice geared toward the temporal and spatial scale of human life. Stories are told in ways that reflect our interest in human-scale phenomena, particularly intersubjective interactions and social structures. 

In this talk I'll focus on how certain kinds of narrative—in both literary fiction and science communication—may overcome this bias toward the human scale and embrace the more abstract or intangible realities that are the object of scientific inquiry, including (but not limited to) climate change. I outline three strategies through which stories may "flesh out" these phenomena in emotional and ethical terms. In doing so, I discuss the implications and potential of the dialogue between narrative and scientific knowledge.