Freya Mathews Releases “Wisdom from the Mount” Video

Freya argues for the need to reconsider philosophy in the Anthropogenic age.

Freya Mathews has created a video of her presentation given for the Three Wise Women Panel at World Philosophy Day, held at the University of Queensland on 17 Nov 2016.

In the presentation, Freya discusses the question of wisdom and draws on both Aboriginal and Daoist philosophical insights to address today’s ecological issues.

Freya states that: ‘ [The] Daoist insight that the path to wisdom lies through mountains, or through deep reinhabitation of and affiliation with the natural world, ties in with what I want to say about philosophy. It is not accidental that my own lifelong dedication to philosophy has ended up as a dedication to environmental philosophy.’

Freya argues for the need to reconsider the role of philosophy in addressing ecological issues brought forward in the Anthropocene era.

‘[The] movement of philosophy to (something like) environmental philosophy as its natural terminus is a long and deep one that returns us to the very origins of philosophy, and it takes in the entire trajectory of the civilization – that of the West – that was born of philosophy. This trajectory has eventually led, ingloriously, despite its many astonishing accomplishments, to an outcome that was, until even a generation ago, unimaginable: the unraveling of the entire ecological order of life on Earth. In light of this catastrophic outcome, we must re-appraise the trajectory of thought that has led to it. But this kind of reflexive task is precisely the province of philosophy. So philosophy must be mobilized to appraise itself, and its generative role in Western civilization.’

Freya has released her Three Wise Women presentation on Vimeo. To access the video, click here.


Freya Mathews is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Philosophy at Latrobe University. Her books include The Ecological Self (1991), Ecology and Democracy (editor) (1996), For Love of Matter: a Contemporary Panpsychism (2003), Journey to the Source of the Merri (2003), Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture (2005), Ardea: a philosophical novella (forthcoming 2015) and Without Animals Life is not Worth Living (forthcoming 2015). She is the author of over seventy articles in the area of ecological philosophy. Her current special interests are in ecological civilization; indigenous (Australian and Chinese) perspectives on “sustainability” and how these perspectives may be adapted to the context of contemporary global society; panpsychism and the critique of the metaphysics of modernity; and wildlife ethics in the context of the Anthropocene. In addition to her research activities, she manages a private biodiversity reserve in northern Victoria. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.