Agency, Systems, and “Civilization”: Dewey and the Anthropocene

The Pluralist 13 (2):72 (2018)
Authors
Phillip McReynolds
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Abstract
The materialistic philosophy which sees 'man' as pitted against his environment is rapidly breaking down as technological man becomes more and more able to oppose the largest systems. Every battle that he wins brings a threat of disaster. The unit of survival—either in ethics or in evolution—is not the organism or the species but the largest system or 'power' within which the creature lives. If the creature destroys its environment, it destroys itself.Man needs the earth in order to walk, the sea to swim or sail, the air to fly. Of necessity he acts within the world and in order to be, he must in some measure adapt himself as one part of nature to other parts.In this paper, I argue that global climate change and...
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DOI 10.5406/pluralist.13.2.0072
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