MASSIA pollination – PHILOSOPHY OF ECOLOGY — 15-21/9

The Philosophy of Ecology
15-21 September with Ben Woodard

Since Ernst Haeckel coined the term ecology in 1866 there has been no shortage of theoretical engagement with ecology and ecological problems and an acceleration of discourse has arisen since the undeniable effects of climate change. But, despite this, the relationship between philosophy and ecology remains far less clear. In continental theory there is not so much a philosophy of ecology but instead numerous loose theoretical explorations of ecology (such as ecosophy and deep ecology) culminating in recent deconstructions and ontological or (new) materialist reconstructions. The philosophy of ecology analytically understood, on the other hand, places ecological theory within the philosophy of science (especially philosophy of biology) emphasizing how ecology, as a science, should be practiced.

The overall aim of these workshops is to clarify the history and context of the various concepts which have come to pervade ecological discourse (anthropocene, extinction, vulnerability, holism, and so on). In addition each day will have an afternoon session centered on practical/pragmatic engagement with other-than human nature. 

The total duration is 6 days, with the first and last day being dedicated to arrival and departure; there will be a lecture-free day in between in which participants can absorb the pollination material and interact with the subject matter in an immediate way – e.g. in the herb garden. And if weather allows some workshops will move out of the class room into ‘the wild’.

Module 1 – Life Signs: From Nature to Ecology
This module will focus on the concept of nature from the ancients, to the romantics, to its replacement by ecology in contemporary discourse as well as the relation of ecological critique to aesthetics. We will address the work of Morton, Demos, Irigaray, and Marder.

Module 2 – Scene kids: Population and Climate
This module will focus on the problem of over-population and its relation to systematic human developments (agriculture, industry, capitalism) and how deeply tied human growth is to climate change. We will address the work of Haraway, Pinto, and Tsing.

Module 3 –  No Time: Ethics and Extinction
For the final module we will talk about the thinkability of extinction and whether humans have a particular ethical responsibility to save the planet with, or without, changing the human race fundamentally. We will address the work of Colebrook, Brassier, and Alaimo.


Duration: 6 days (Sep 15 – 21)
LocationMASSIA research & development residency, Massiaru, Estonia
Accommodation: 9€ per night (10€ if you stay less than 5 nights) plus a 12€ one-year MASSIA membership
Food: Cooking will be collective and cost will be about 7€ per day
This workshop is for free, donations are possible

Make reservations at
For questions about the workshop, you can get in touch with Ben Woodard 

Ben Woodard is a post-doctoral researcher in philosophy and art theory at Leuphana University, Lüneburg Germany. His research focuses on the relationship between naturalism and idealism across continental and analytic philosophy. His text, Schelling’s Naturalism, is forthcoming from Edinburgh Press.

MASSIA pollination are workshops, events, gatherings happening around the Massia Officinale project, making the movement of fertile material between bodies possible. For inquiries about MASSIA pollination (if you want to organize a pollination, for example), email

Download of reading material:
Suggested Readings 1
Suggested Readings 2