Heralding a New Humanism:
The Radical Implications of Chakrabarty's Four Theses
Timothy James LeCain, "Heralding a New Humanism: The Radical Implications of Chakrabarty's Four Theses," in Robert Emmett and Thomas Lekan, eds., "Whose Anthropocene? Revising Dipesh Chakrabraty's 'Four Theses,'" RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society 2 (2016): 15-20.
When Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg church, he sought to start a conversation about reform. Yet his ideas sparked something that eventually came to look rather more like a revolution. So far as I am aware, Dipesh Chakrabarty has not nailed his Four Theses to any doors at the University of Chicago. But perhaps he should. The satisfying thunk of nail in wood would provide an appropriate note of material solidity to Chakrabarty’s provocative ideas that—at least to my reading—pose a powerful challenge to the modernist illusion that we humans are separate from the material world around us. Humanism may never again be the same.