The concept of a cultural landscape: Nature, culture and agency of the land

Ethics and the Environment 11 (2):115-150 (2006)
Abstract
: The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report issued in April 2005 shows how severely our civilisation is degrading and overstressing the natural systems that support human life and all other lives on earth. An important critical challenge, especially for the eco-humanities, is to help us understand the conceptual frameworks and systems that disappear the crucial support provided by natural systems and prevent us from seeing nature as a field of agency. This paper considers the currently popular concept of a cultural landscape as an example of a concept that downplays natural agency, and discusses the epistemology of nature scepticism and nature cynicism that often accompanies its vogue in the humanities. Can some philosophical disentangling of senses of nature (often considered the most complex term in the language) allow sceptics their main points without placing them on such a strong collision course with the requirements of commonsense and survival?
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Sheila Lintott (2011). Preservation, Passivity, and Pessimism. Ethics and the Environment 16 (2):95-114.
Simon Hailwood (2014). Estrangement, Nature and 'the Flesh'. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):71-85.
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