Kiel Center for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (KCPPE)

Finite World and Open Future (Endliche Welt und offene Zukunft)

Finiteness and growth criticism in the contemporary political thought

The project aims at analyzing the influence of secularized time and progress ideals both on growth theories and their ecological critique.This moves from a research hypothesis, i.e. secularization led to the development of progress- and growth concepts, which result from a transfer from lifetime to world time ideals of finiteness.The relationship between lifetime and world time contributed not only to the perseverance of the modern thoughts on growth, but also to a crisis of the social models grounded on growth.

This correlation between temporality, ideas of finiteness and growth criticism has not been adequately considered by most of the previous research.

Moving from this background, it will be shown why the ecological-political thought, which since the 70s has been broadening the panorama of political thinking and has its roots in the awareness of finiteness and the fragility of natural livelihoods, identifies a crisis of the growth paradigm. Moreover, it will be examined whether some exemplar contributions from this current, under the condition of the possible finiteness of mankind history, are appropriate to sustain an open future and how far this presents the problematic features of an apocalyptical attitude, which then again has illiberal implications.

The project is financed by DFG and supervised by Prof. Dr. Tine Steine from the University Göttingen in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Ludger Heidbrink, Chair of Practical Philosophy at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel.