Nature and silence

Environmental Ethics 14 (4):339-350 (1992)
A viable environmental ethics must confront “the silence of nature”—the fact that in our culture only humans have status as speaking subjects. Deep ecology has attempted to do so by challenging the idiom of humanism that has silenced the natural world. This approach has been criticized by those who wish to rescue the discourse of reason in environmental ethics. I give a genealogy of nature’s silence to show how various motifs of medieval and Renaissance origins have worked together historically to create the fiction of “Man,” a character portrayed as sole subject, speaker, and telos of the world. I conclude that the discourse of reason, as a guide to social practice, is implicated in this fiction and, therefore, cannot break the silence of nature. Instead, environmental ethics must learn a language that leaps away from the motifs of humanism, perhaps by drawing on the discourse of ontological humility found in primal cultures, postmodern philosophy, and medieval contemplative tradition
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275  
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics19921445
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,370
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
43 ( #124,255 of 2,193,778 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #28,093 of 2,193,778 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature