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Maximilian Gregor Hepach MA

Maximilian Gregor Hepach MA

PhD Candidate

Maximilian's main interests lie in the philosophy of geography, geographical theory, and cultural geography. His current research focuses on how we come to understand climate(-change) through the lenses of scientific, speculative, and phenomenological realism.

Biography

Qualifications

  • MA in Philosophy, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 2017.
    • Dissertation: "The perceptibility of weather. Phenomenological approaches to weather in Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Günter Figal" (in German)
  • BA in Philosophy, Universität Wien, 2015.

Awards

  • Cambridge AHRC Studentship, October 2018.
  • Cambridge European Scholarship, October 2018.

Research

External website: https://hepach.org/

My research seeks to develop a novel account of how climate and its changes are experienced, drawing from a broad range of intellectual traditions.

I set out by investigating the constitutive role of scientific theory, measurement, and modelling in our understanding climate(-change). I identify a conceptual inconsistency between conceptualising climate as an object of abstraction and experiences of climate change.

To resolve this inconsistency, I turn to various philosophical traditions in order to develop an account of the experiential reality of climate and its changes.

Through an environmental reading of Plato's and Aristotle's works, I offer an account of climate as a medium of experience and existence.

Turning to phenomenological theory, I further develop this account, showing how climate coheres subjectivity and objectivity in distinct ways. Changes in climate then entail changes to how our world is comprehensible to us. Within geographical theory, my research consequently aims to question the post-phenomenological turn in geography, especially the adequacy of speculative realism/object-oriented ontology for understanding climate and its changes. Hence, alongside my account of climate, I revaluate the history and role of phenomenology in geography (esp. German and Japanese Phenomenology) in order to show that phenomenology's potential for geography has not yet been fully realised.

Drawing on recent work on the ecology of perception and media ecology/theory, I detail what an account of climate as media might mean for our understanding of both natural and built spaces.

Critically evaluating the adequacy of my phenomenological account of climate, I finally consider the relationship between climate and the Japanese concept of 風土 [fudō] with the help of Japanese philosophy.

Publications

Articles

Reviews

Other publications

Select conference presentations

  • "Realities of climate: a phenomenological account." Paper presented at AAA/CASCA, Vancouver Convention Center. Vancouver, Canada, November 2019.
  • "Is climate real? A phenomenological response." Paper presented at the German Geographers Congress, University of Kiel. Kiel, Germany, September 2019.
  • "(In-)Conspicuous Climate." Paper presented at the Atmospheres of Shared Emotion Workshop, University of Vienna. Vienna, Austria, April 2019.
  • "Identity as mnemonic dialectic. The (dis-)entanglement of enlightenment." Paper presented at the Warwick Continental Philosophy Conference, University of Warwick. Coventry, United Kingdom, June 2018.
  • "Feeling, seeing, breathing air? Experiencing the (in-)conspicuousness of air." Paper presented at the Cultural Histories of Air and Illness Conference, University of Warwick. Coventry, United Kingdom, June 2018.
  • "A phenomenology of weather and ki." Paper presented at the European Network of Japanese Philosophy Conference, Université Libre de Bruxelles. Brussels, Belgium, December 2016.
  • "Attempting a philosophy of climate." Paper presented at the East-West Philosophers' Conference, University of Hawaii'i at Manoa. Honolulu, United States, May 2016.

Teaching

  • Seminars, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
    • Getting a feel for the Anthropocene: on technology and shame (MPhil in Anthropocene Studies)
  • Supervisions, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
    • Living with global change
    • Understanding Cultural Geographies
    • Environmental Knowledges & the Politics of Expertise (EKPE)
  • Teaching assistant, Department of Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook
    • Logical and Critical Reasoning, Spring 2018
    • Introduction to Ancient Philosophy, Fall 2017

External activities