Postmodernism, Deep Ecology and the Idea of Wildness

Ethical Perspectives 14 (4):501-512 (2007)
Abstract
Martin Drenthen has made a strong case for his interpretation of Nietzsche’s potential contribution to environmental ethics but he does not do justice to deep ecology. The problematic he identifies is essentially the difficulty of asserting a meaningful basis for action while being aware of the contingency of all meanings.This tension can be seen running through deep ecology, at least as described by its main theorist, Arne Naess, who is not the moral realist that Drenthen would have him. Key differences do emerge as Drenthen develops his idea of “Wildness” or nature as “other,” which can only partially support caring action towards nature. Drenthen is ambivalent, even hostile, to a context of experienced reality – central to Naess’s ecosophy.This causes him to fall into what is ultimately a fairly traditional nature versus culture distinction and so maintain the existential gulf between humans and nature
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