Wild Ontology: Elaborating Environmental Pragmatism

Ethics and the Environment 5 (2):191 - 209 (2000)
Abstract
I elaborate and critically evaluate the theses of "environmental pragmatism," especially as captured in a recent collection with that title. While I am hopeful about this new approach, I want nonetheless to make reparations for its shortcomings. The primary difficulty is that environmental pragmatists tend to express only implicitly the metaphysical commitments of, say, William James, and yet the claims of environmental pragmatism would be profoundly strengthened by direct appeal to James's metaphysics. The ecosystem approach is particularly amenable to characterization in terms of pragmatic metaphysics. Thus, I offer the thesis of wild ontology in an effort to enrich the empirical basis of environmental philosophy, and also to help cure environmental ethics of its political impotence.
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