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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 11, Issue 2, Fall 2014

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Displaying: 1-10 of 13 documents


articles
1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Yogi Hale Hendlin, From Terra Nullius to Terra Communis: Reconsidering Wild Land in an Era of Conservation and Indigenous Rights
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This article argues that understanding “wild” land as terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”) emerged during historical colonialism, entered international law, and became entrenched in national constitutions and cultural mores around the world. This has perpetuated an unsustainable and unjust human relationship to land no longer tenable in the post-Lockean era of land scarcity and ecological degradation. Environmental conservation, by valuing wild lands, challenges the terra nullius assumption of the vulnerability of unused lands to encroachment, while indigenous groups reasserting their rights to communal territories likewise contest individual property rights. South American case studies illustrate routinized terra nullius prejudices.
2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Henry Dicks, Aldo Leopold and the Ecological Imaginary: The Balance, the Pyramid, and the Round River
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Aldo Leopold accorded great significance to the images he used to describe both the land and humankind’s relation to it. Focusing on three key images of Leopold’s “ecological imaginary”—the balance, the pyramid, and the round river—this article argues that the most profound of these is the round river. Contrasting this image with James Lovelock’s portrayal of the earth as Gaia, it further argues that Leopold’s round river can be interpreted as a contemporary, ecological reworking of the primordial, Homeric experience of Being, according to which the foundation of the world is a round river, Oceanus.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Ilan Safit, Nature Screened: An Eco-Film-Phenomenology
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Do cinematic representations of the natural world only put us in further remove from nature? A phenomenological approach shows that nature screened can produce a richer understanding of human–nature relations as these unfold in visual contact. If vision accesses the world in a unique relationship of sight, in which our contact with the world is defined by vision prior to any other interaction, the cinema offers a special setting for a phenomenology that seeks to draw-out the significance of human relations with the world of nature that come before utility or action. A detailed analysis of the opening sequence of Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005) demonstrates how the act of viewing positions the viewer in relation to what she sees. This position, prior to action and with the impossibility to act is seen here as an ethical position, a position of responsibility in the Levinasian sense. Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of vision is put here to use alongside the hermeneutic phenomenology of Heidegger and the existential responsibility of Levinas, while subverting Levinas’ anthropocentrism and rejecting Heidegger’s limiting view of technology. The approach taken in this essay, of bringing phenomenology into productive and reflexive interaction with ecology and with film is dubbed an “eco-film-phenomenology.”
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Michael Marder, For a Phytocentrism to Come
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The present essay formulates a phytocentric alternative to the biocentric and zoocentric critiques of anthropocentrism. Treating phuton—the Greek for “plant,” also meaning “growing being”—as a concrete entry point into the world of phusis (nature), I situate the intersecting trajectories and (cross-species, cross-kingdoms) communities of growth at the center of environmental theory and praxis. I explore the potential of phytocentrism for the “greening” of human consciousness brought back to its vegetal roots, as well as for tackling issues related, among others, to the use of biotechnologies and dietary ethics.
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Andrew Tyler Johnson, Is Organic Life “Existential”?: Reflections on the Biophenomenologies of Hans Jonas and Early Heidegger
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In this paper I outline Hans Jonas’s thesis of the “existential” character of biological life and compare it with statements made by the early Heidegger concerning the essential enworldedness of all living beings. I then critically examine this thesis in the light of Heidegger’s own later refutation of his views and consequent reversal of his former position on life. I argue that while both thinkers are correct to attribute a radical openness to organic life as such, Heidegger is correct is restricting the existential dimension to specifically human life given certain logical constraints built into the concept of existence itself.
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Brendan Mahoney, Heidegger and the Art of Technology: A Response to Eric Katz
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This article critiques Eric Katz’s claim that technology and artifacts are intrinsically anthropocentric, and thus essentially aimed at controlling and dominating nature. Drawing on Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of technology, I argue Katz’s position is founded on a narrow ‘means-end’ concept of technology. Building on Heidegger’s work, I propose rethinking technology through the broader ancient Greek concept of techne. I then claim the concept of techne enables us to develop an understanding of technology that is not intrinsically anthropocentric and dominating. Finally, I argue an analysis of art provides a model for this non-anthropocentric concept of technology.
7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Vincent Blok, Reconnecting with Nature in the Age of Technology: The Heidegger and Radical Environmentalism Debate Revisited
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The relation between Martin Heidegger and radical environmentalism has been subject of discussion for several years now. On the one hand, Heidegger is portrayed as a forerunner of the deep ecology movement, providing an alternative for the technological age we live in. On the other, commentators contend that the basic thrust of Heidegger’s thought cannot be found in such an ecological ethos. In this article, this debate is revisited in order to answer the question whether it is possible to conceive human dwelling on earth in a way which is consistent with the technological world we live in and heralds another beginning at the same time. Our point of departure in this article is not the work of Heidegger but the affordance theory of James Gibson, which will prove to be highly compatible with the radical environmentalist concept of nature as well as Heidegger’s concept of the challenging of nature.
8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Bryan E. Bannon, Resisting the Domination of Nature: Regarding Time as an Ethical Concept
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This essay uses Foucault’s views on time and ethics in order to reconceptualize the domination of nature in terms of the imposition of an inflexible order upon a place rather than in the more conventional sense in environmental studies of reducing nature to a use object for humanity. I then propose a means of resisting that domination by examining how friendship might be employed as an ethical ideal in our relationship to nature.
book reviews
9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Luke Fischer, "Thinking Like a Plant: A Living Science for Life" by Craig Holdrege
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10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Nicolae Morar, "The Human Microbiome: Ethical, Legal, and Social Concerns" edited by Rosamond Rhodes, Nada Gligorov, and Abraham Paul Schwab
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