Environmental Ethics 34 (3):291-312 (2012)

In their effort to emphasize the positive role of nature in our lives, environmental thinkers have tended to downplay or even to ignore the negative aspects of our experience with nature and, even when acknowledging them, have had little to offer by way of psychologically and spiritually productive ways of dealing with them. The idea that the experience of value begins with the experience of existential shame—arising from awareness of the limitations that define the self—needs to be explored. The primary purpose of the “technologies of the imagination”—myth, symbol, ritual and the arts—is to provide a passage through this shame to the experience of values such as community, meaning, beauty, and the sacred and, through these experiences, to inscribe them into conscience. The implications of this idea for environmental thinking and practice can be explored in two areas involving strong engagement with nature: ecological restoration and the production and eating of food. An environmentalism that fails to provide productive ways of dealing with existential shame may well prove inadequate to the task of providing means for achieving a healthy, sustain­able relationship between humans and the rest of nature
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics201234324
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,968
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

A Confucian Theory of Shame.Nathaniel F. Barrett - 2015 - Sophia 54 (2):143-163.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Myth, Nature, and the Bureaucratic Experience.Michael V. McGinnis - 1994 - Environmental Ethics 16 (4):425-436.
A Confucian Theory of Shame.Nathaniel F. Barrett - 2015 - Sophia 54 (2):143-163.
Environmentalism, a Secular Faith.Thomas R. Dunlap - 2006 - Environmental Values 15 (3):321 - 330.
The Greening of White Pride.Steven Gimbel - 2004 - Philosophy and Geography 7 (1):123-140.
Further Adventures in the Case Against Restoration.Eric Katz - 2012 - Environmental Ethics 34 (1):67-97.


Added to PP index

Total views
5 ( #1,153,001 of 2,433,318 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #468,801 of 2,433,318 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes