The Relevance of an Existential Conception of Nature


  • Todd Mei University of Dundee


Nature, existentialism, Heidegger, thrownness, phusis, Collingwood, insurance


It is often assumed that science provides the most accurate knowledge about nature. This view not only collapses distinctions between different forms of knowing but also results in a paradox whereby understanding what it means to exist in the world is dictated by practioners of science. In this essay I argue for the relevance of an existential conception of nature via the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, and how his notions of thrownness and phusis enable us to recognize a certain ethical bond to nature. I conclude with a critical analysis of liability insurance and actuarial science to demonstrate my points.

Author Biography

Todd Mei, University of Dundee

Dr Todd S. Mei is assistant professor (lecturer) in philosophy at the University of Dundee. His main areas of research include philosophical hermeneutics, ancient Greek philosophy, and philosophy of economics.




How to Cite

Mei, T. (2014). The Relevance of an Existential Conception of Nature. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 10(2), 138–157. Retrieved from