Restoring human-centerednes to environmental conscience: The ecocentrist's dilemma, the role of heterosexualized anthropomorphizing, and the significance of language to ecological feminism

Ethics and the Environment 14 (1):pp. 29-51 (2009)
I argue here that the centeredness of human experience as human is misrepresented by ecocentrists as identical with (or the cause of) human chauvinism, and that although centeredness describes an ineradicable feature of human consciousness, nothing necessarily follows from it other than what follows from any unique configuration of capacities and limitations. Appealing to the ways in which we use anthropomorphizing language, I argue that at the root of this misrepresentation is a failure to take seriously not only the perceptual and epistemic centeredness of human experience, but the ways in which gendered and heterosexualized social norms have become naturalized among its features. Restoring human-centeredness to environmental conscience requires becoming clear about how centeredness is realized not only as chauvinism, but as heterosexism—not because any necessity governs this history, but because what makes enduring change possible is the development of an environmental conscience equally committed to the struggle for social justice.
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