Gaia and Religious Pluralism in Bruno Latour's New Materialism

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Abstract

In his works on ecological philosophy, Bruno Latour develops an interesting perspective on religion and pluralism. He proposes a new worldview, in which religion is reinterpreted in viewof a Gaian philosophy. He extends ‘pluralism’ beyond the anthropocentrism that dominates modern humanism. In his book Facing Gaia Latour includes nonhuman beings in a larger community and
works towards a larger concept of eco-humanism. In this paper, I try to reconstruct his position by showing that the philosophical foundation for his interpretation of religion could be called ‘terrarism’ and is to be classified as a form of new materialism. This new interpretation of materialism has
postmodernist origins (inspired by Gilles Deleuze), but it is not identical to it, because Latour distances himself from ‘postmodernism’. He wants to positively contribute to a new ontology. My point is that Latour’s ‘terrarist’ grounding of religious pluralism obstructs any foundation of transcendence
and, finally, congests a really pluralistic ecumene because he still adheres to the postmodernist idea that we should renounce to a unitary principle of being. His ideas on eco-humanism and pluralistic ecumene could gain momentum if we opened ourselves to a more holistic and spiritual way of thinking, retaking Lovelock’s conception of Gaia. However, Latour’s new-materialistic interpretation
of ‘animism’ can be seen as a positive contribution to a new perspective of the world that definitively sets ‘materialism’ aside.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14/960
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalReligions
Volume14
Issue number960
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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