Trash Talks by Elizabeth V. Spelman
Revelations in the Rubbish

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A lively investigation of the intimate connections we maintain with the things we toss away

It's hard to think of trash as anything but a growing menace. Our communities face crises over what to do with the mountains of rubbish we produce, the enormous amount of biological waste generated by humans and animals, and the truckloads of electronic equipment judged to be obsolete. All this effluvia poses widespread problems for human health, the well-being of the planet, and the quality of our lives.

But though our notorious habits of disposal have put us well on the way to making the earth inhospitable to life, our relation to rejectamenta includes much more than shedding and tossing. In Trash Talks, philosopher Elizabeth V. Spelman explores the extent to which we rely on trash and waste to make sense of our lives. Examples are rich: We use people's rubbish to gain information about them. We trumpet wastefulness as a means of signaling social status. We take the occupation of handling trash and garbage as revelatory of possible moral or spiritual shortcomings. We are intrigued by or in distress over the idea that evolution is a prodigiously wasteful process and that it is to the dustbin that each of us, and our species, shall ultimately repair. In the heaps of our trash, some see consequences of dissatisfaction, while others find confirmation of a flourishing consumer economy. While we may want to shove debris and detritus out of sight, many of our most impassioned projects involve keeping these objects resolutely in mind. Trash talks, and there is much of which it speaks.

About Elizabeth V. Spelman

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Elizabeth V. Spelman is Professor of Philosophy and Barbara Richmond 1940 Professor in the Humanities at Smith College. Trash Talks, her fourth book, shares with her earlier work on repair a preoccupation with mining philosophically rich features of everyday activities. She lives and produces rubbish in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Published March 31, 2016 by Oxford University Press. 214 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Trash Talks

Spelman's (Barbara Richmond 1940 Professor in the Humanities, Smith Coll.; Repair: The Impulse To Restore in a Fragile World) book is a short, introductory discussion on the many ways in which trash and waste are used to understand a variety of human endeavors and concepts. From evolution to the ...

Jun 01 2016 | Read Full Review of Trash Talks: Revelations in t...