Biology and Philosophy 15 (2) (2000)
|Abstract||It is commonly accepted that thewestern view of humanity's place in nature isdominated by a dualistic opposition between nature andculture. Historically this has arisen fromexternalization of nature in both productive andcognitive practices; instances of such externalizationhave become generalized. I think the dualism can bedecomposed by identifying dominant elements in eachparticular instantiation and showing that their strictseparation evaporates under close scrutiny. The philosophical challenge this perspective presents isto substitute concrete socioecological analysis forfoundational metaphysics. A review of majorinterpretations of the history of the dualism inWestern thought indicates that the legacy is moremultistranded than is usually admitted. Modern scienceis often assumed to lie squarely within the dualism,but this is unfounded. In contrast, science providestools for contextual analysis on how human activitiesand natural processes merge. The dualism thusevaporates in actual research practice. Nevertheless,the foundational metaphysics needs to be challenged,primarily because of its paralyzing effect onenvironmental philosophy.|
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