Moreover, his ecological critique, which was tied to his general political-economic critique of capitalism, is the most developed dialectical-systems theory perspective available to us today for understanding the enormously complex role of capitalism in the degradation of both labor and nature.
Nevertheless, a number of theorists, arising out of Marxian and other left traditions, have sought to take another path, emphasizing the unifying role of capitalism with respect to ecology, such that capitalism is seen as constitutive of the web of life itself. This social-monist and essentially idealist approach is justified as an attack on Cartesian dualism. The clear intent is to derail the ecological Marxism associated with the ecosocialist movement, especially its materialist dialectic. This reinforced an idealist, subject-object dialectic confined to humanity, the human world, and the human-historical sciences.
The result was the popularity on the left of abstract-idealist, hyper-social-constructivist, and postmodernist readings of Marxism that defined themselves in opposition to materialism, and particularly dialectical materialism. Turning to the question of the environment—given its growing importance in the Anthropocene epoch—radical thinkers have increasingly promoted an anthropocentric social monism, in which nature is seen as completely internalized by society.
A close critical look reveals the deep contradictions associated with this social-monist perspective, including a social determinism that extends to the erasure of nature itself. The big bugbear for such theorists is dualism. Left geographers Neil Smith and Erik Swyngedouw go so far as to claim that Marx was himself a dualist. It is not determined by the biosphere in the abstract.
From the standpoint of historical nature, entropy is reversible and cyclical—but subject to rising entropy within specific civilizational logics. The general skepticism of Smith and other left thinkers toward discussion and action on climate change amounts to an acquiescence to the status quo, and to the distancing from environmental concerns. The world in its entirety—natural and social—is depicted as simply a collection of bundled, entwined relationships, in which capital predominates.
Indeed, Moore has recently gone so far as to laud the ecomodernist Breakthrough Institute founders Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger—leading ideologues of capitalist markets, high technology including nuclear and geoengineering , and accelerated economic growth—as providing a superior analysis of environmental problems.
Such an analysis rejects a critique based on alienation of labor and nature and the rift in the social metabolism. It paves over the contradiction between an alienated humanity and alienated nature and normalizes received ideology. Metabolism becomes a way to discern shifts provisional and specific unifications not rifts cumulative separation. In the one-dimensional perspective of such social-monist thinkers, there is no reason to analyze the interpenetration, interchange, and mediation of nature-society relations.
Natural cycles and processes are not seen as relatively autonomous from society, even by force of abstraction, but are subsumed within society; hence they are no longer seen as legitimate subjects of analysis. The notion of the Earth system simply disappears.
Marx, in contrast, clearly indicated that nature and society are irreducible. One cannot and should not be subsumed within the other. The choice here is not between monism and dualism. Rather, an open-system, materialist dialectic—focused on mediation and totality and taking into account the heterogeneous character of reality and integrative levels—provides the only meaningful critical-realist basis for analysis.
As he wrote in the Grundrisse ,. It serves as the basis to develop an open-ended dialectic of nature that accounts for internal and external relations. It also illuminates how the alienation of nature and the creation of a metabolic rift in relation to the universal metabolism of nature are intertwined with the system of capital.
Social metabolism encompasses human labor and production in relation to the larger biophysical world. The rise of capitalism introduced distinct second-order mediations associated with the specific form of commodity production and the ceaseless pursuit of capital accumulation. Private property and wage labor alienated not only humanity and the productive process, but nature itself. As indicated above, this took the form of an alienated mediation, generating a metabolic rift between society and nature. A dialectical-realist perspective requires a comprehensive account of both internal and external relations, rather than confining analysis to only internal dynamics.
It raises the crucial question of the distinction between open and closed dialectics. As Fredric Jameson explains,. In contrast, a materialist dialectic is inherently open, not closed. It accepts no closure: no human domain completely separate from nature—and no domain of God. From a materialist-realist perspective, it is impossible even to begin to address the dynamics of the environment while following Western Marxism in rejecting the dialectics of nature altogether.
Neither monism nor dualism is consistent with a dialectical method, which necessarily transcends both. In the words of environmental philosopher Richard Evanoff:.
Global climate change is contributing to ocean acidification, which has dramatic effects, for example, on marine calcifiers, who must use more energy to produce biogenic calcium for shell and plate formation. Additionally, ocean warming and acidification are contributing to coral bleaching and collapse. These extensive coral ecosystems play a central role in creating a nutrient rich environment and maintaining marine biodiversity. Although capitalism attempts to address such ecological rifts through technological fixes, all of this leads to a larger, cumulative structural crisis within the universal metabolism of nature—given the continuing contradictions that constitute the system.
The main objective of IC3K is to provide a point of contact for scientists, engineers and practitioners interested in the areas of Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management. IC3K is composed of three co-located complementary conferences, each specialized in one of the aforementioned main knowledge areas.
The International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development KEOD provides a point of contact for scientists, engineers and practitioners interested in the scientific and technical advancement of methodologies and technologies for Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development both theoretically and in a broad range of application fields. The goal of the International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing KMIS is to provide a major meeting point for researchers and practitioners interested in the study and application of all perspectives of Knowledge Management and Information Sharing.
The high quality of the papers received imposed difficult choices in the review process. To evaluate each submission, a double blind paper review was performed by the Program Committee, whose members are highly qualified independent researchers in the three IC3K Conferences topic areas.
Moreover, the conference also featured a number of keynote lectures delivered by internationally well-known experts, namely Nicola Leone University of Calabria, Italy , Xindong Wu Mininglamp Software Systems, China and University of Louisiana at Lafayette, United States , Rita Cucchiara University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy , Rudi Studer Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany thus contributing to increase the overall quality of the conferences and to provide a deeper understanding of the conferences interest fields.
To recognize the best submissions and the best student contributions, awards based on the best combined marks of paper reviewing, as assessed by the Program Committee, and the quality of the presentation, as assessed by session chairs at the conference venue, are conferred at the closing session of the conference. Building an interesting and successful program for the conference required the dedicated effort of many people. We would like to express our thanks, first of all, to all authors including those whose papers were not included in the program.
We would also like to express our gratitude to all members of the Program Committee and auxiliary reviewers, who helped us with their expertise and valuable time. Furthermore, we thank the invited speakers for their invaluable contribution and for taking the time to synthesize and prepare their talks. Moreover, we thank the special session chair and tutorial lecture whose contribution to the diversity of the program was decisive. Francisco Xavier, Lote 7 Cv.