Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deepecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
Bioregionalism is often presented as the politics of deepecology, or deepecology 's social philosophy. That the ties uniting these doctrines are rarely explored can be put down to a perception amongst commentators that such links are self-evident and therefore unworthy of closer examination. By arguing that the bonds between deepecology and bioregionalism are more tenuous than has often been assumed, this paper addresses this theoretical lacuna. There is nothing exclusive to the (...) central tenets of deepecology which provides us with a coherent rationale for a specifically bioregional form of decentralisation. However, deepecology has nonetheless had an appreciable impact on bioregional thinking. In this context it is argued that bioregionalism's assimilation of aspects of deepecology, and particularly an emphasis upon cross-species identification, undermines the project in various ways. (shrink)
Deepecology and ecofeminism are contemporary environmental philosophies that share the desire to supplant the predominant Western anthropocentric environmental frameworks. Recently thinkers from these movements have focused their critiques on each other, and substantial differences have emerged. This essay explores central aspects of this debate to ascertain whether either philosophy has been undermined in the process and whether there are any indications that they are compatible despite their differences.
‘Ecology: religious or secular?’ addresses the issue of the relation between ecology and the idea of God. ‘Social’ interpretations of ecology seem to fit with traditional Christian models, such as stewardship, for grasping the relation between humanity and nature. ‘Deep’ interpretations of ecology, in which nature is understood to encompass humanity, appear, by contrast, less amenable to assimilation by Christianity.The choice – for so it is often presented – between ‘deep’ and ‘social’ forms (...) of ecology is thus a test case for Christianity. Does the Christian theologian opt for ‘social’ ecology because it best addresses the issue of human embeddedness in nature or because it fits better with prior metaphysical commitments?This article argues that the only way such a dilemma can be addressed theologically is by thinking through at a fundamental level the character of God’s relation to the world. An enquiry in philosophical theology, through the consideration of the concept of divine simplicity, it is argued, suggests that Christianity is not condemned to ‘religious’ readings of ecology. That is, Christianity is not obliged to select evidence based on criteria derived from prior theological commitments .Instead, beginning in the concept of God enables a truly ‘secular’ enquiry which acknowledges a wide range of evidence of our materiality. Indeed, such a ‘secular’ enquiry can only be established by reference to the idea of God. (shrink)
Both Richard Sylvan’s trenchant critique of DeepEcology and Warwick Fox’s illuminating reinterpretation and defence are presented and appraised. Besides throwing light on the nature and the prospects of the defence of DeepEcology and of its diverse axiological, epistemological and metaphysical strands, the appraisal discloses the range of normative positions open to those who reject anthropocentrism, of which DeepEcology is no more than one (and, if Fox’s account of its nature is right, (...) may not be one at all). A position intermediate between DeepEcology and anthropocentrism is advocated, which has been called by Wayne Sumner "middle-depth environmentalism – a kind of continental shelf between the shallow and deep extremes". (shrink)
I consider the issue of the self and its relation to the environment, focusing on the accounts given in ecofeminism and deepecology. Though both stress the relatedness of the human self to nature, these accounts differ in various ways. Ecofeminism stresses the value of personal relations with particular others, whereas deepecology argues that we should expand our sense of self to include all natural others and the whole of nature. Deepecology’s views (...) on the self, which are loosely based on scientific ecology, are examined further and I argue that the implications are that selves are not to be seen as static things but rather as processes, and as constituted by their relations with others. This understanding of the self, I argue, enriches both deepecology and ecofeminism’s claims on selfhood, and will enable the resolution of some of the difficulties they perceive in each other’s account. (shrink)
The Struggle for Nature outlines and examines the main aspects of current environmental philosophy including deepecology, social and political ecology, eco-feminism and eco-anarchism. It criticizes the dependency on science of these philosophies and the social problems engendered by them. Jozef Keulartz argues for a post-naturalistic turn in environmental philosophy. The Struggle for Nature presents the most up-to-date arguments in environmental philosophy, which will be valuable reading for anyone interested in applied philosophy, environmental studies or geography.
This article analyses the influence of Hinduism on Ecosophy T. Arne Naess in several of his environmental writings quotes verse 6.29 of the Bhagavadgit?, a Hindu sacred text. The verse is understood to illustrate the close relationship between the ideas of oneness of all living beings, non?injury and self?realization. The article compares the interpretations of the verse of some of the most important Hindu commentators on the Bhagavadgit? with the environmentalist interpretation. There is no agreement in the history of the (...) Hindu tradition on the meaning of the verse. The interpretation of Ecosophy T contrasts sharply with the interpretations of the Hindu monastic traditions but has similarities with the twentieth?century social activist interpretations of Mohandas K. Gandhi and S. Radhakrishnan. In Ecosophy T aspects of this social activist version of Hinduism have been creatively reinterpreted in the context of contemporary environmentalism. (shrink)
We hope—even as we doubt—that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species’ self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing—but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity.This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. (...) Yet these traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism’s questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activateimagination, humor, ritual, and hope. (shrink)
The current ecological crisis is a matter of urgent global concern, with solutions being sought on many fronts. In this book, Seyyed Hossein Nasr argues that the devastation of our world has been exacerbated, if not actually caused, by the reductionist view of nature that has been advanced by modern secular science. What is needed, he believes, is the recovery of the truth to which the great, enduring religions all attest; namely that nature is sacred. Nasr traces the historical process (...) through which Western civilization moved away from the idea of nature as sacred and embraced a world view which sees humans as alienated from nature and nature itself as a machine to be dominated and manipulated by humans. His goal is to negate the totalitarian claims of modern science and to re-open the way to the religious view of the order of nature, developed over centuries in the cosmologies and sacred sciences of the great traditions. Each tradition, Nasr shows, has a wealth of knowledge and experience concerning the order of nature. The resuscitation of this knowledge, he argues, would allow religions all over the globe to enrich each other and cooperate to heal the wounds inflicted upon the Earth. (shrink)
Where are we? -- How did we get here? -- The millennial vision -- Where do we go? -- Psychic energy -- The North American continent -- Governance -- The university -- The corporation -- Religion -- The historical mission of our time.
This article explores the representation of fish in ecological discourse through analysis of the recently published Millennium Ecosystem Assessment synthesis report. The analysis utilizes an ecological framework based on "deepecology" , examining how the discourse of the MA asserts or denies the intrinsic worth of fish. The discursive construction of fish is particularly relevant given the massive expansion of the aquaculture industry, which is having a negative impact on ecosystems and the fish themselves, particularly the Atlantic salmon. (...) There are alternatives to traditional ecological discourses, such as the lyrical discourse drawn on by Rachel Carson in her description of salmon. The article concludes with a discussion of the potential of such discourses to represent reality in ways that are more comparable with the welfare of the fish and the protection of ecosystems. (shrink)
There is an international deepecology social movement with key terms, slogans, and rhetorical use of language comparable to what we find in other activist “alternative” movements today. Some supporters of the movement partake in academic philosophy and have developed or at least suggested philosophies, “ecosophies,” inspired by the movement. R. A. Watson does not distinguish sufficiently between the movement and the philosophical expressions with academic pretensions. As a result, he falsely concludes that deepecology implies (...) setting man apart from nature-a kind of “anthropocentrism” in his terminology: humans and only humans have no right to interfere with natural processes. What the deepecology movement insists on is rather that life on Earth has intrinsic value and that human behavior should and must change drastically-and soon. (shrink)
l examine the degree to which the so-called “deepecology” movement embodies a feminist sensibility. In part one I take a brief look at the ambivalent attitude of “eco-feminism” toward deepecology. In part two I show that this ambivalence sterns largely from the fact that deepecology assimilates feminist insights to a basically masculine ethical orientation. In part three I discuss some of the ways in which deepecology theory might change if it adopted (...) a fundamentally feminist ethical orientation. (shrink)
I offer a feminist critique of deepecology as presented in the seminal papers of Naess and Devall. I outline the fundamental premises involved and analyze their internal coherence. Not only are there problems on logical grounds, but the tacit methodological approach of the two papers are inconsistent with the deep ecologists’ own substantive comments. I discuss these shortcomings in terms of a broader feminist critique of patriarchal culture and point out some practical and theoretical contributions which (...) eco-feminism can make to a genuinely deepecology problematic. (shrink)
This article explores the influence of Spinozism on the deepecology movement and on new materialism. It questions the stance of supporters of the DEM because their ecosophies unwittingly anthropomorphise the more-than-human-world. It suggests that instead of humanising the ‘natural’ world, morality should be naturalised, that is, that the object of human expression of ethics should be the more-than-human world. Moreover, the article discusses Deleuze’s Spinozism that informs new materialism and argues that stripping the human of its ontological (...) privilege does not deprive the human animal from its ethico-normative distinctiveness. Implications of the discussion for an education aimed at cultivating human sensibilities are explored. (shrink)
There has recently been considerable discussion of the relative merits of deepecology and ecofeminism, primarily from an ecofeminist perspective. I argue that the essential ecofeminist charge against deepecology is that deepecology focuses on the issue of anthropocentrism (i.e., human-centeredness) rather than androcentrism (i.e., malecenteredness). I point out that this charge is not directed at deepecology’s positive or constructive task of encouraging an attitude of ecocentric egalitarianism, but rather at (...)deepecology's negative or critical task of dismantling anthropocentrism. I outline a number of problems that can attend not only the ecofeminist critique of deepecology, but also comparable critiques that proceed from a broad range of social and political perspectives. I then proceed to argue that deepecology’s concem with anthropocentrism is entirely defensible-and defensible in a way that should be seen as complementing and expanding the focus of radical social and political critiques rather thanin terms of these approaches versus deepecology. (shrink)
A clarification of Naess's ?depth metaphor? is offered. The relationship between Naess's empirical semantics and communication theory and his deepecology approach to ecophilosophy (DEA) is developed. Naess's efforts to highlight significant conflicts by eliminating misunderstandings and promoting deep problematizing are focused upon. These insights are used to develop the implications of the DEA for environmental policy. Naess's efforts to promote the integration of science, ethics, and politics are related to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The (...) action?oriented aspect of deepecology, its focus upon redirecting environmental policy, is also highlighted. The discussion is framed by Brian Norton's contention, in Toward Unity Among Environmentalists, that Naess's deep/ shallow distinction is not consequential. In the final section some of the uniqueness of Naess's contribution is intimated, the ?sturdiness? of deepecology's foundation is considered, and directions for future theoretical and practical contributions are suggested. As will be observed, Naess has many important insights to offer, but some vexing issues persist. (shrink)
I discuss conceptual confusions shared by deep ecologists over such questions as gender, essentialism, normative dualism, and eco-centrism. I conclude that deep ecologists have failed to grasp both the epistemological challenge offered by ecofeminism and the practical labor involved in bringing about social change. While convergencies between deepecology and ecofeminism promise to be fruitful, these are celebrated in false consciousness, unless remedial work is done.
According to Arne Naess, his environmental philosophy is influenced by the philosophy of language called empirical semantics, which he first developed in the 1930s as a participant in the seminars of the Vienna Circle. While no one denies his claim, most of his commentators defend views about his environmental philosophy that contradict the tenets of his semantics. In particular, they argue that he holds that deepecology’s supporters share a world view, and that the movement’s platform articulates shared (...) principles. Naess, however, rejects this conception of deepecology, and, moreover, he is compelled to do so because of his long-standing views on semantics. Naess’s semantics thus poses a particularly difficult problem for the first group of theorists who endorsed Naess. (shrink)
Recent disclosures regarding the relationship between Heidegger’s thought and his own version of National Socialism have led me to rethink my earlier efforts to portray Heidegger as a forerunner of deepecology. His political problems have provided ammunition for critics, such as Murray Bookchin, who regard deepecology as a reactionary movement. In this essay, I argue that, despite some similarities, Heidegger’s thought and deepecology are in many ways incompatible, in part because (...) class='Hi'>deep ecologists—in spite of their criticism of the ecologically destructive character of technological modernity—generally support a “progressive” idea of human evolution. (shrink)
Nature in its wider cosmic sense is not at risk from human exploitation and predation. To see life on Earth as but a local manifestation of this wider, indestructable and inexhaustible nature is to shield ourselves from despair over the fate of our Earth. But to take this wide view also appears to make interventionist political action on behalf of nature-which is to say, conservation-superfluous. If we identify with nature in its widest sense, as deepecology prescribes, then (...) the “self-defence” argument usually advanced by deep ecologists in support of conservation appears not to work. I argue that the need for eco-activism can be reconciled with a rejection of despair within the framework of deepecology, and that in the process of this reconciliation the meaning of the term conservation acquires a new, spiritual dimension. (shrink)
I discuss six problems with Warwick Fox’s “The DeepEcology–Ecofeminism Debate and Its Parallels” and conclude that until Fox and some other deep ecologists take the time to study feminism and ecofeminist analyses, only disputes—not genuine debate—will occur between these two parties. An understanding of the six issues that I discuss is a precondition for such a debate.
A core project for deep ecologists is the reformulation of the concept of self. In searching for a more inclusive understanding of self, deep ecologists often look to Buddhist philosophy, and to the Japanese Buddhist philosopher Dōgen in particular, for inspiration. I argue that, while Dōgen does share a nondualist, nonanthropocentric framework with deepecology, his phenomenology of the self is fundamentally at odds with the expanded Self found in the deepecology literature. I (...) suggest, though I do not fully argue for it, that Dōgen’s account of the self is more sympathetic to one version of ecofeminism than to deepecology. (shrink)
Deepecology is examined from the perspective of scientific ecology. Two norms, self-realization and biocentric equality, are considered central to deepecology, and are explored in brief. Concepts of scientific ecology that seem to form a bridge to these norms are ecological hierarchical organization, the exchange of energy, material and information, and the development of species within ecosystems and the biosphere. While semantic problems exist, conceptually it appears that deepecology norms can (...) be interpreted through scientific ecology. (shrink)
Both Arne Naess and Warwick Fox have argued that deepecology, in terms of “Selfrealization,” is essentially nonmoral. I argue that the attainment of the ecological Self does not render morality in the richest sense “superfluous,” as Fox suggests. To the contrary, the achievement of the ecological Self is a precondition for being a truly moral person, both from the perspective of a robust Kantian moral frameworkand from the perspective of Aristotelian virtue ethics. The opposition between selfregard and (...) morality is a false one. The two are the same. The ecological philosophy of Naess and Fox is an environmental ethic in the grand tradition of moral philosophy. (shrink)
I address the problem of reconciling environmental holism with the intrinsic value of individual beings. Drawing upon Madhyamaka Buddhism, the later philosophy of Martin Heidegger, and deepecology, I present a distinctly holistic conception of nature that, nevertheless, retains a commitment to the intrinsic worth of individual beings. I conclude with an examination of the practical implications of this “thing-centered holism” for environmental ethics.
I examine Fox’s tripartite characterization of deepecology. His assessment abandons Naess’s emphasis upon the pluralism of ultimate norms by distilling what I refer to as the deepecology approach to “Self-realization!” Contrary to Fox, I argue that his popular sense is distinctive and his formal sense is tenable. Fox’s philosophical sense, while distinctive, is neither necessary nor sufficient to adequately characterize the deepecology approach. I contend that the deepecology approach, (...) as a formal approach to environmental philosophy, is not dependent upon and embodies much more than any single ultimate norm. I discuss how Naess’s deepecology approach supports a wide diversity of ultimate norms. The only stipulation placed upon ultimate norms, to make them deep ecological ultimate norms, is that the so called deepecology platform be derivable from them. The deepecology approach is distinguished, in part, through its focus on diminishing environmentally degrading practices and policies by addressing root causes and by highlighting pseudo-conflicts. I present an interpretation of the deepecology approach that hightlights Naess’s emphasis upon assisting individuals to arrive at thoroughly reasoned, consistent, and ecologically sound concrete decisions by supporting them in the articulation of their own personal ecological total views (ecosophies). (shrink)
The power and the promise of deepecology is seen, by its supporters and detractors alike, to lie in its claims to speak on behalf of a natural world threatened by human excesses. Yet, to speak of trees as trees or nature as something worthy of respect in itself has appeared increasingly difficult in the light of social constructivist accounts of “nature.” Deepecology has been loath to take constructivism’s insightsseriously, retreating into forms of biological objectivism (...) and reductionism. Yet, deepecology actually has much in common with, and much to gain from, some varieties of constructivism and can add a new dimension to constructivism’s own critique of current ideologies. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical examination of efforts to use Heidegger's thought to illuminate deepecology. It argues that deepecology does not entail a non-anthropocentric or ecocentric environmental ethic; rather, it is best understood as offering an ontological critique of the current environmental crisis, from a perspective of deep anthropocentrism.