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Making Sense in Common: A Reading of Whitehead in Times of Collapse

With her previous books on Alfred North Whitehead, Isabelle Stengers not only secured a reputation as one of the premier philosophers of our times but also inspired a rethinking of critical theory, political thought, and radical philosophy across a range of disciplines. Here, Stengers unveils what might well be seen as her definitive reading of Whitehead.

Making Sense in Common will be greeted eagerly by the growing group of scholars who use Stengers’s work on Whitehead as a model for how to think with conceptual precision through diverse domains of inquiry: environmentalism and ecology, animal studies, media and technology studies, the history and philosophy of science, feminism, and capitalism. On the other hand, the significance of this new book extends beyond Whitehead. Instead, it lies in Stengers’s recovery of the idea of “common sense” as a meeting place—a commons—where opposed ideas of science and humanistic inquiry can engage one another and help to move society forward. Her reconciliation of science and philosophy is especially urgent today—when climate disaster looms all around us, when the values of what we thought of as civilization and modernity are discredited, and when expertise of any kind is under attack.

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