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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 2, Fall 2011

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Displaying: 1-10 of 14 documents


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1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
James Hatley Blaspheming Humans: Levinasian Politics and The Cove
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The Cove, a recent documentary on the harvesting and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji Japan, envisions this practice as a mode of blasphemy. While the reintroduction of a notion of blasphemy into the search for inter-species justice can illuminate the intensity of the evil one witnesses, one must be wary of this notion’s ethical, political and social implications. In place of a politics of outrage that is deployed by the film, an argument is made for a politics of expiation. In a politics of expiation one begins one’s conversation with the alleged wrongdoer/blasphemer in penitential rather than accusatory witness.
2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Shane D. Courtland Hobbesian Justification for Animal Rights
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Hobbes’s political and ethical theories are rarely viewed as places by which those who protect the weak seek refuge. It would seem odd, then, to suggest that such a theory might be able to protect the weakest among us—non-human animals. In this paper, however, I will defend the possibility of a Hobbesian justification for animal rights. The Hobbesian response to the problem of compliance allows contractarianism to extend (at least some) normative protection to animals. Such protection, as I will argue, has a similar justificational foundation as the protection we offer other humans.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Christiane Bailey Kinds of Life: On the Phenomenological Basis of the Distinction between “Higher” and “Lower” Animals
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Drawing upon Husserl and Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological constitution of the Other through Einfühlung, I argue that the hierarchical distinction between higher and lower animals—which has been dismissed by Heidegger for being anthropocentric—must not be conceived as an objective distinction between “primitive” animals and “more evolved” ones, but rather corresponds to a phenomenological distinction between familiar and unfamiliar animals.
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Luke Roelofs There is No Biotic Community
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It has been suggested that the biosphere and its component ecological systems be thought of as “communities”; this is often invoked as a reason to attribute it moral significance. I first disambiguate this claim, distinguishing the purely moral, social-factual, and biological-factual senses of this term, as well as distinguishing primary from derived meanings, drawing on material from philosophy, sociology, psychology, and ecology. I then argue that the ethically important sense of the term is one that does not apply to ecological systems, though it could in the future, and that it is misleading to base ethical arguments on claims about “biotic communities.”
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Pierluigi Barrotta James Lovelock, Gaia Theory, and the Rejection of Fact/Value Dualism
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In this paper the relationship between Gaia theory and fact/value dualism must be understood from two angles: I shall use Gaia as a case study to show the philosophical limits of dualism, and I shall also use the discussion of fact/value dualism to clarify the contents of Gaia theory. My basic thesis is that Lovelock is right when rejecting the suggestion that he should clear his theory of evaluative considerations. He is right because in his theory facts and moral values are strictly interwoven and therefore cannot be conceptually separated. I shall show this point by arguing that if we dropped the evaluative components from Gaia theory we would not have the same theory cleared of those evaluative components. Instead we would have a theory with a different empirical meaning and different explanatory characteristics.
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Philip Rose Spatio-Temporal Facticity and the Dissymmetry of Nature: A Peircean-Based Defense of Some Essential Distinctions of Nature
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This is an attempt to work the ground in the philosophy of nature by trying to articulate in a clear and rigorous philosophical sense what Nature is. This will involve pressing the question of nature to the point of essential distinctions in the hope of disclosing conditions that mark Nature as a distinct conception and general mode of being. Drawing and building upon Peirce’s account of “facts,” time and space, and the “dissymmetry” of nature, I will suggest some ways in which the essential distinctness of Nature can be framed. I will end by offering a parting glance at some of the implications that might follow from the distinctions constructed.
7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Mark Coeckelbergh Environmental Virtue: Motivation, Skill, and (In)formation Technology
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Environmental virtue ethics faces the problem of motivation: there is a gap between knowledge and action. This paper first analyzes the roots of this problem and discusses possible solutions that require the use of imagination and information technology. Then it reformulates the problem of motivation and the question concerning environmental virtue by using the notion of skill. It sketches the contours of a non-Romantic and non-Stoic virtue ethics that attempts to move beyond dualist assumptions concerning the relations between humans, nature, and technology. In this way, the paper shows how environmental philosophy can benefit from a dialogue with philosophy of technology.
8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Andrew Gibson Ideas and Practices in the Critique of Consumerism
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Drawing on the works of philosophers Charles Taylor and Joseph Heath, this paper argues that the critique of consumerism is too often separated into an emphasis on “ideas” or “practices.” Taylor’s critique is set against the backdrop of his interpretation of the ideas and values that are constitutive of Western selfhood. To engage in excessive consumption, on this view, is to betray the ideals underlying one’s cultural identity. Heath, by contrast, argues that critics of consumerism must avoid this kind of ideas-based social criticism because it is not only unproductive, but also illiberal and elitist. The phenomenon of consumerism must be approached, rather, by way of an institutional critique that treats excessive consumption as a collective action problem arising within the context of the market economy. The paper argues that while Heath makes an invaluable contribution to the critique of consumerism, his misunderstanding of the importance of ideas is such that his critique ultimately lacks vigor and persuasiveness.
book reviews
9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
James Hatley Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
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10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 8 > Issue: 2
Aaron G. Rizzieri Ecotheology and the Practice of Hope
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