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Celebrating Recent Work by Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateApril 25, 2017 timeTuesday, 6:15pm EDT location Jerome Greene Annex, Columbia University
  • Dean of Humanities, Arts & Sciences
  • Dean of Social Science, Arts & Sciences
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated
Cover of The Seasons Alter: How to Save Our Planet in Six Acts by Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller


A landmark work of environmental philosophy that seeks to transform the debate about climate change.

As the icecaps melt and the sea levels rise around the globe―threatening human existence as we know it―climate change has become one of the most urgent and controversial issues of our time. For most people, however, trying to understand the science, politics, and arguments on either side can be dizzying, leading to frustrating and unproductive debates.

Now, in this groundbreaking new work, two of our most renowned thinkers present the realities of global warming in the most human of terms―everyday conversation―showing us how to convince even the most stubborn of skeptics as to why we need to act now. Indeed, through compelling Socratic dialogues, Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller tackle some of the thorniest questions facing mankind today:

Is climate change real?
Is climate change as urgent as the “scientists” make it out to be?
How much of our current way of life should we sacrifice to help out a generation that won’t even be born for another hundred years?
Who would pay for the enormous costs of making the planet "green?"
What sort of global political arrangement would be needed for serious action?

These crucial questions play out through familiar circumstances, from an older husband and wife considering whether they should reduce their carbon footprint, to a first date that evolves into a passionate discussion about whether one person can actually make a difference, to a breakfast that becomes an examination over whether or not global warming is really happening. Entertaining, widely accessible, and thoroughly original, the result promises to inspire dialogue in many places, while also giving us a line of reasoning that explodes the so-far impenetrable barriers of obfuscation that have surrounded the discussion.

While the Paris Agreement was an historic achievement that brought solutions within the realm of possibility, The Seasons Alter is a watershed book that will show us how to make those possibilities a reality.

  • Author Evelyn Fox Keller Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, Emerita Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Author Philip Kitcher John Dewey Professor of Philosophy Columbia University
  • Discussant Michelle Moody-Adams Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory Columbia University
  • Discussant Jonathan Weiner Maxwell M. Geffen Professor of Medical and Scientific Journalism Columbia University
  • Discussant Daniel Kevles Stanley Woodward Professor Emeritus of History, History of Medicine & American Studies; Adjunct Professor, Law School Yale University