Cite as: Christian Schmidt, Introduction to the keynote Slavoj Žižek, ‘“Unbehagen in der Natur”: On Thinking the End of Nature’, part of the conference Politics of Nature, ICI Berlin, 20 October 2022, video recording, mp4, 04:47 <>
20 Oct 2022


By Christian Schmidt

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:04:47
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Keynote

‘Unbehagen in der Natur': On Thinking the End of Nature / Slavoj Žižek

It is as if the Earth is gradually turning into Trisolaris, a strange planet from The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin’s sci-fi masterpiece. Trisolaris has three suns which rise and set at strange and unpredictable intervals: sometimes too far away and horribly cold, sometimes far too close and destructively hot, and sometimes not seen for long periods of time. Devastating hurricanes, droughts, and floods, not to mention global warming – do they all not indicate the appearance of something for which the only appropriate term is ‘the end of nature’? (‘Nature’ is understood here in the traditional sense: a regular rhythm of seasons, the reliable background of human history, something on which one can count always to be there.

Slavoj Žižek is senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, a Hegelian philosopher, a Lacanian psychoanalytic theorist, a Marxist social analyst, and the most tireless lecturer as well as author of countless books like Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (2012), Heaven in Disorder (2021).

Chair: Christian Schmidt

Artikel Süddeutsche Zeitung (Pdf)


ICI Berlin
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Organized by

Thomas Khurana
An event of the Department of Philosophy & the Center for Post-Kantian European Philosophy, University of Potsdam, in cooperation with the ICI Berlin

Part of the Conference

Politics of Nature: Philosophical Perspectives on the Anthropocene

It is obvious that human forms of life have affected the earth system to such an extent that one has to consider the possibility that a new geological age has emerged. More importantly, the severe changes underway in this new age, often called the ‘Anthropocene’, seem to undermine the very conditions of survival on this planet: Climate change, a severe reduction of biodiversity, the increasing exploitation and devastation of the environment, and new diseases based on cross-species virus transmission are only some of the most visible forms in which human activities have seriously undermined the habitability of this planet for human and non-human species. It is the dire irony of the term ‘Anthropocene’ that it is named after the very species that is heading for self-extinction in this age. This situation does not just underline the fact that the present capitalist forms of life are unviable, it also poses a challenge to some of the constitutive ideals that have guided the critique of these forms of life – notions of growth and transformation, liberation and invention, freedom and self-determination, care and responsibility, justice and equality. Against this background, the conference seeks to articulate the ‘Anthropocene’ as a philosophical problem that requires a deep revision of our self-understanding and a new conception of politics.


ICI Berlin
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Jacob Blumenfeld
Robin Celikates
Xenia Chiaramonte
Lillian Cicerchia
Jeanette Ehrmann
Alexandra Heimes
Katharina Hoppe
Thomas Khurana
Kristina Lepold
Beth Lord
Andreas Malm
Christoph Menke
Karen Ng
Oliver Precht
Rupert Read
Francesca Raimondi
Eva von Redecker
Eric-John Russell
Martin Saar
Christian Schmidt
Johannes-Georg Schülein
Melanie Sehgal
Oxana Timofeeva
Alexey Weissmüller
Slavoj Žižek

Organized by

Thomas Khurana
An event of the Department of Philosophy & the Center for Post-Kantian Philosophy (University of Potsdam) in cooperation with the ICI Berlin, supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG)