Environmental Values 30 (3):277-296 (2021)

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Simon Lumsden
University of New South Wales
Abstract
This paper examines the theory of sustainable development presented by Jeffrey Sachs in The Age of Sustainable Development. While Sustainable Development ostensibly seeks to harmonise the conflict between ecological sustainability and human development, the paper argues this is impossible because of the conceptual frame it employs. Rather than allowing for a re-conceptualisation of the human-nature relation, Sustainable Development is simply the latest and possibly last attempt to advance the core idea of western modernity — the notion of self-determination. Drawing upon Hegel's account of historical development it is argued that Sustainable Development and the notion of planetary boundaries cannot break out of a dualism of nature and self-determining agents.
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DOI 10.3197/096327120x15916910310518
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