Politics and Ethics of Finiteness

Climate change, the extinction of species and the scarcity of resources: The complex and manifold phenomena of the ecological crisis and their expected substantial damage pose one of the most fundamental challenges for modern societies and their political systems in the 21st century. The DFG-funded project “Politics and Ethics of Finiteness” is a cooperation between the University of Kiel and the University of Göttingen and focuses on the ecological crisis and the problem of finite nature as being the most central issue in contemporary Western Political Thought. By clarifying the normative foundations and real world conditions for social change towards sustainability, the project seeks more profound insights into the process of ecological transformation in ways both ethical and political.

The project is divided into three sub-projects, each of which focuses on different aspects of the finite nature problem. The first two sub-projects “Endliche Welt und offene Zukunft. Endlichkeit und Wachstumskritik im politischen Denken (1) and “Endliche Welt und nachhaltiges Verhalten als Politik. Zur ökologischen Transformation der Gesellschaft” (2) deal with the ideological-historical roots and the critique of the modern growth paradigm in political thought since the 1970s (1), as well as with contemporary civic initiatives as both ethical and political forms of sustainable social practice (2). Both projects started in autumn 2019. The third subproject “Sittlichkeit und Nachhaltigkeit in einer Postwachstumsgesellschaft” (3), which started in February 2020, aims to develop a philosophical framework for a post-growth society based on the work of G. F. W. Hegel.