Philosophizing ad Infinitum

Infinite Nature, Infinite Philosophy

By Marcel Conche
Translated by Laurent Ledoux & Herman G. Bonne
Foreword by J. Baird Callicott

Subjects: Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Ancient Greek Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
Paperback : 9781438451886, 218 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438451893, 218 pages, June 2014

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

J. Baird Callicott
Translators’ Introduction
Herman Bonne and Laurent Ledoux
Preface to the English Translation
Marcel Conche
I. Flashback
II. Presence of the Infinite: Plato and Science in Opposition to the Infinite
III. With and Without Aristotle
IV. With and Without Chrysippus
V. With and Without Epicurus
VI. With and Without Montaigne
VII. A Moment With Omar Khayyam
VIII. Concerning Nietzsche
IX. My Path With and Without Bergson
X. With Pascal and Without Him
XI. With the “Old Sage” and Without Him
Appendix: Correspondence between Marcel Conche and Gilbert Kirscher
Bibliography of Marcel Conche

An original and insightful account of nature and our place in it from one of France's preeminent historians of philosophy.


One of France's preeminent historians of philosophy, Marcel Conche has written and translated more than thirty-five books and is recognized for his groundbreaking and authoritative work in Greek philosophy, as well as on Montaigne. In Philosophizing ad Infinitum, one of his most remarkable and daring books, Conche articulates a unique and powerful understanding of nature, inclusive of humanity, as infinite in time and space—ever self-renewing, eternal, and beyond complete understanding or control.

In today's world the notion of infinity is at the core of the crisis humanity faces understanding nature. For the last two hundred years economies have been running at full speed, fueled by the implicit belief that natural resources are infinite; however, it is clear that they are not and that humanity needs to radically rethink the foundations of environmental and economic systems. Conche seeks to begin this rethinking, illustrating along the way insightful and sometimes unorthodox ideas about Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Montaigne, Nietzsche, Bergson, and others.

Marcel Conche is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris. Laurent Ledoux is President of the Belgian Ministry of Transports and Mobility. Herman G. Bonne is Chief Financial Officer for a private company in Belgium.


"Philosophizing ad Infinitum: this book paints a perfect picture of the life of Marcel Conche, a natural-born philosopher. His aptitude to question absolutely everything drove him to the pre-Socratics, even at an early age, in his relentless quest for the truth. With Montaigne, the thinker to whom he feels most akin, Marcel Conche stands tall as an exceptional figure in contemporary French philosophy, renewing and enriching a great philosophical tradition." — Françoise Dastur, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis