Can and ought we to follow nature?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Environmental Ethics 1 (1):7-30 (1979)
“Nature knows best” is reconsidered from an ecological perspective which suggests that we ought to follow nature. The phrase “follow nature” has many meanings. In an absolute law-of-nature sense, persons invariably and necessarily act in accordance with natural laws, and thus cannot but follow nature. In an artifactual sense, all deliberate human conduct is viewed as unnatural, and thus it is impossible to follow nature. As a result, the answer to the question, whether we can and ought to follow nature, must be sought in a relative sense according to which human conduct is sometimes more and sometimes less natural. Four specific relative senses are examined: a homeostatic sense, an imitative ethical sense, an axiological sense, and a tutorial sense. Nature can be followed in a homeostatic sense in which human conduct utilizes naturallaws for our well-being in a stable environment, but this following is nonmoral since the moral elements can be separated from it. Nature cannot be followed in an imitative ethical sense because nature itself is either amoral or, by some accounts, immoral. Guidance for inter-human ethical conduct, therefore, must be sought not in nature, but in human culture. Nevertheless, in an axiological sense, persons can and ought to follow nature by viewing it as an object of orienting interest and value. In this connection, three environments are distinguished for human well-being in whichwe can and ought to participate-the urban, the rural, and the wild. Finally, in a tutorial sense, persons can and ought to follow nature by letting it teach us son1ething of our human role, our place, and our appropriate character in the natural system as a whole. In this last sense, "following nature" is commended to anyone who seeks in his human conduct to maintain a good fit with the natural environment-a sense of following nature involving both efficiency and wisdom
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
David Heyd (2003). Human Nature: An Oxymoron? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (2):151 – 169.
Kathleen Dean Moore (2010). Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature. Trumpeter Books.
Noriaki Iwasa (2011). Sentimentalism and the Is-Ought Problem. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (33):323-352.
Thomas Heyd (2005). Nature, Culture, and Natural Heritage: Toward a Culture of Nature. Environmental Ethics 27 (4):339-354.
Gopalkrishnan R. Iyer (1999). Business, Consumers and Sustainable Living in an Interconnected World: A Multilateral Ecocentric Approach. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 20 (4):273 - 288.
Allen Coates (2009). Explaining the Value of Truth. American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2):105-115.
Robin Attfield (2007). Is the Concept of Nature Dispensable? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5 (25):59-63.
Nathan Kowalsky (2006). Following Human Nature. Environmental Ethics 28 (2):165-183.
Rolston (1979). Can and Ought We to Follow Nature? Environmental Ethics 1 (1):7-30.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2009-01-28
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?