John Dewey as a Philosopher of Contingency and the Value of this Idea for Environmental Philosophy

Environmental Ethics 33 (4):395-413 (2011)
Abstract
In recent years, scholars studying the writing of the American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey have attempted to use his ethical ideas to construct a viable environmental ethics. This endeavor has found limited success and generated some intriguing debates, but has been found wanting in many areas important to environmental ethicists of the twenty-first century. In particular, the humanist motivations behind many of his ethical writings stand in the way of a philosophy that takes nonhumans seriously. However, there is much environmental philosophers can learn from Dewey, not from his ethics, but from his ontological writings. A concept of the contingency of existence, found in Dewey, in particular in Experience and Nature, can be the foundation for a robust, if dark, ecological philosophy
Keywords Environmentalism  Dewey  Pragmatism  Value  Ontology
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