RQ: Morton, “Critical Thinking,” 1-14

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Keep the following questions in mind as you read Timothy Morton’s “1-14. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

  • 1. What’s ecology according to Morton?
  • 2. What does Morton mean by the “Ecological Thought”? What are some ways he defines the term? Are you ever satisfied with definition?
  • 3. Describe the organizational strategy of this chapter? How does it differ from the way Nixon and Clark set up their chapters?
  • 4. How/why does what Morton calls the ecological though disrupt time? What does he mean when he says things such as, “In some strong sense, the ecological thought rigorously comes afterward–it is always to come, somewhere in the future. In its fullest scope, it will have been thought at some undefined point” (3)?
  • 5. Why do we have to let go of “Nature” to have ecology?
  • 6. What does the term “Nature” describe according to Morton? Why is “Nature” a problem in his estimation?  
  • 7. What happens to the concept of personhood (or even species) when it expands under the ecological though? OR, what does Morton mean when he says that “The ecological though fans out into questions concerning cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and the irreducible uncertainty over what counts as a person” (8)?
  • 8. Why do “all artworks…have an irreducibly ecological form” (11)?
  • 9. What sort of interaction between the sciences and the humanities does Morton propose and why?
  • 10. Why doesn’t Morton talk abut “theory” more explicitly? Or, what choices do think he has made in this chapter to be more accessible to non-specialists?

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