The metaphysical implications of ecology

Environmental Ethics 8 (4):301-316 (1986)
Abstract
Although ecology is neither a universal nor foundational science, it has metaphysical implications because it profoundly alters traditional Western concepts of terrestrial nature and human being. I briefly sketch the received metaphysical foundations of the modem world view, set out a historical outline of an emerging ecological world view, and identify its principal metaphysical implications. Among these the most salient are a field ontology, the ontological subordination of matter to energy, internal relations, and systemic (as opposed to oceanic) holism. I treat moral psychology as a special case of the metaphysical implications of ecology. Ecology undermines the concept of a separable ego or social atom and thus renders obsolete any ethics which involves the concepts of “self” and “other” as primitive terms
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