Rhetoric, environmentalism, and environmental ethics

Environmental Ethics 16 (4):377-396 (1994)
Abstract
The growth of environmental ethics as an academic discipline has not been accompanied by any cultural movement toward sustainability. Indices of ecological degradation steadily increase, and many of the legislative gains made during the 1970s have been lost during the Reagan-Bush anti-environmental revolution. This situation gives rise to questions about the efficacy of ecophilosophical discourse. We argue (1) that these setbacks reflect, on the one hand, the skillful use of rhetorical tools by anti-environmental factions and, on the other, the indifference (even hostility) of the ecophilosophical communitytoward rhetoric, (2) that since the linguistic turn in philosophy, no rigid line of demarcation can be maintained between rhetoric and philosophy, and (3) that rhetoric offers resources to the ecophilosophical community that increase its potential to effect change in society
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