The Paradox of Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics 21 (2):163-175 (1999)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this paper, I offer a systematic inquiry into the significance of Nietzsche’s philosophy to environmental ethics. Nietzsche’s philosophy of nature is, I believe, relevant today because it makes explicit a fundamental ambiguity that is also characteristic of our current understanding of nature. I show how the current debate between traditional environmental ethics and postmodern environmental philosophycan be interpreted as a symptom of this ambiguity. I argue that, in light of Nietzsche’s critique of morality, environmental ethics is a highly paradoxical project. According to Nietzsche, each moral interpretation of nature implies a conceptual seizure of power over nature. On the other hand, Nietzsche argues, the concept of nature is indispensable in ethics because we have to interpret nature in order to have a meaningful relation with reality. I show that awareness of this paradox opens a way for a form of respect for nature as radical otherness.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 84,292

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The value of wildness.Kenneth H. Simonsen - 1981 - Environmental Ethics 3 (3):259-263.
Nietzsche’s Environmental Ethics.Max O. Hallman - 1991 - Environmental Ethics 13 (2):99-125.
Environmental Ethics and the Built Environment.Roger J. H. King - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (2):115-131.
Nietzsche and the Paradox of Environmental Ethics.Martin Drenthen - 2002 - New Nietzsche Studies 5 (1-2):12-25.


Added to PP

147 (#101,519)

6 months
1 (#510,180)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Martin Drenthen
Radboud University Nijmegen

Citations of this work

Green symbolism in the genetic modification debate.Ian M. Scott - 2000 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (3-4):293-311.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references