Holocene epistemologies

~400BCE: plato & confucius

Although separated by a distance of nearly 5,000 miles, Classical Greece and China witnessed the near-simultaneous emergence of complex, centralized city-states, intensive agricultural cultivation, urbanization, the growth of imperial administrations, and scientific and technological revolutions. Each also witnessed the emergence of competing schools of philosophy. This course surveys principal works of Classical Greek and Chinese philosophy (where possible in their totality). Our goals are both contextualist and comparativist. Alternating between philosophical traditions, we shall read, discuss, and analyze several works of ancient Greek philosophy and Classical Chinese philosophy within their unique historical contexts and in comparision to one another.

Course description, Plato and Confucius: Comparative Ancient Philosophies, CLCV W3111, Spring '15, Marcus Folch @ CU

~ birth of jesus: roman empire & han dynasty

The simultaneous efflorescence of the Roman Empire and China under the Han dynasty are one of history’s many “strange parallels,” synchronous pulses of growth and retraction on a global scale, that seem to require causal mechanisms on the same order of magnitude.

fate-of-romech. 2

cf also "axial age" in debt

This idea of "progress"—that history is always an upward sweep, that things can only get better, that technologies and conditions can only improve over time— to what extent are our ways of being and (subsequently,) knowing predicated on climate and ecological stability?


debt Graeber, David. 2014. Debt, Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House. ↩︎ 1

fate-of-rome Harper, Kyle. 2017. The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. Princeton University Press. ↩︎ 1