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1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Stefan Skrimshire Points of No Return: Climate Change and the Ethics of Uncertainty
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According to recent scientific reports, certain climatic tipping points can be understood as “points of no return,” in which, for instance, anthropogenic interference changes global temperatures irreversibly. Such an outcome presents a situation unlike any considered before by risk theorists, for it introduces an element of radical uncertainty into the very value (considered ethically, culturally, and politically) of taking action on climate change. In the following I argue that ethical bases for action that rely on traditional concepts of risk (such as the dominant precautionary principle) are vastly ill equipped to make sense of the catastrophes of the scale predicted by most climatologists today. Instead we need to understand the possibilities of political action beyond thresholds assumed by tipping-point calculations. This in turn means investigating action as a form of risktaking and as operating against the conservative connotations of environmental precaution. It also implies acting against the calculative assumption that one’s actions are meaningless “unless this happens by this time,” a sentiment propelled, perhaps, by the repetition in mainstream media of reference to the finality of points of no return.
2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
William Goodwin How Does the Theologizing of Physics Contribute to Global Warming?
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In this paper I examine the sorts of arguments that motivate skepticism about the predictive powers of global climate models. I contend that these arguments work by contrasting the development and testing of global climate models with an idealized image of science drawn largely from a theologized model of fundamental physics. A richer appreciation of the methodology of a full range of successful empirical predictions—particularly in practical fields that study complex systems––can dispel some of these skeptical worries about climate science. If this is right, the good company into which climate science will have been drawn may help to save it from contemptuous ill-treatment at the hands of a theologized image of physics.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Meera Baindur Nature as Non-terrestrial: Sacred Natural Landscapes and Place in Indian Vedic and Purāṇic Thought
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A complex process of place-making by Vedic and Purāṇic primary narratives and localized oral secondary narratives shows how nature in India is perceived from a deeply humanized worldview. Some form of cosmic descent from other place-worlds or lokas are used to account for the sacredness of a landscape in the primary narrative called stala purāṇa, while secondary narratives, called stala māhāṭmya, recount the human experience of the sacred. I suggest that sacred geography is not geography of “terrestrial” but of implaced otherworldly materials––rivers, mountains or forests. An ecological ethics based on sacred geography must therefore take into account the sacred aspects of such narratives and encourage normative values that could apply to both the sacred and the ecological for such places.
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Sharon R. Harvey Environmental Problem-Solving and Heidegger’s Phenomenology: Addressing Our Technical Relation to Nature
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The philosophical bases underlying methodological and decision-making processes for environmental issues are rarely questioned, and yet have important consequences. What commonly results is that first order solutions are technical ways of addressing problems which limit human relation to nature. Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology makes a distinction between “thatness” and “whatness.”“What a thing is” is depicted by modern science with “being as continual presence.” “That a thing is” refers to nature’s capacity for disclosure and withdrawal, that being is both “presence and absence.” This essay evaluates thepragmatic prospects of heightening an approach on the “thatness” of nature.
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Michael Mikulak The Silence That Can Speak: Nature, Ethics, and Interspecies Cosmopolitics
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This article looks at the question of animality and silence in terms of developing a theory of interspecies cosmopolitics based on ecological dissensus. By starting with the author’s own experiences taking care of chickens, this article engages the question of environmental ethics within the gastronomic axis, theweb of life that binds all beings in the shared need to eat. By examining the philosophical roots of silence and abjectness that often characterizes the animal, the author argues for an ecologically oriented celebration of bare life as a means of recognizing silence as a form of politics that moves beyond the human.
book reviews
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Eric Sean Nelson Encountering Nature: Toward an Environmental Culture
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7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
J. Aaron Simmons Echoes of Responsibility in Merleau-Ponty’s Ecology and Levinas’s Ethics: State University of New York Press
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8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Keith Peterson Environmental Values
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9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Meg Mott Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology
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10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Shane Ralston Political Theory and Global Climate Change
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features
11. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Leonard Lawlor Auto-Affection and Becoming (Part I): Who are We?
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This essay pursues a double strategy to transform our human collective relation to animal life. On the one hand, and this strategy is due to Derrida’s thought, it attempts to criticize the belief that humans have a kind of subjectivity that is substantially different from that of animals, the belief that humans have in their self-relation (called auto-affection) a relation of pure self-presence. On the other hand, the essay attempts to enlarge the idea of auto-affection to include the voices and looks of animals in us. Being in us, the image of animal suffering changes who we are. Hence the subtitle. This second strategy is due to Deleuze’s (or more precisely Deleuze and Guattari’s) thought. In fact, a large portion of this essay is devoted to a conceptual reconstruction of Deleuze and Guattari’s important concept of becoming. I argue that there are two central features of this concept. First, the concept of becoming involves a process of desubjectification which allows for the image of animal suffering to inhabit our consciousness as a “feverish thought.” Second, the outcome of becoming is not only that, due to the feverish thought, we change, but also that we write about this experience in order to lead others to it. The essay ends therefore by invoking a kind of writing—folktales—as a way of calling for a “people to come” (Deleuze) or a “democracy to come” (Derrida).
12. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Bryan E. Bannon Animals, Language, and Life: Searching for Animal Attunement with Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty
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This essay elaborates the meaning of Merleau-Ponty’s conception of life as “a power to invent the visible” by differentiating it from Heidegger’s claim, in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, that the essence of humanity is to be world-forming. By considering how history and language influence conceptions of life, the essay argues that the various forms of animal life are structurally similar to human life, while at the same time are different insofar as different species exhibit distinct ways of living their bodies. Thus, one can maintain a metaphysical continuity between different bodies, while ensuring their difference and specificity.
13. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jozef Keulartz Boundary Work in Ecological Restoration
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Two protracted debates about the moral status of animals in ecological restoration projects are discussed that both testify to the troubling aspects of our inclination to think in terms of dualisms and dichotomies. These cases are more or less complementary: the first one is about the (re)introduction of species that were once pushed out of their native environment; the other one concerns the elimination or eradication of “exotic” and “alien” species that have invaded and degraded ecosystems. Both cases show the detrimental impact of dualistic thinking on ecological restoration projects. In the first case, communication and cooperation between stakeholders is frustrated by the opposition of zoocentrism and ecocentrism; in the second case the opposition of nativism and cosmopolitanism appears to be a major stumbling block for consensus building and conflict management. I will argue that “gradualization”—thinking in terms of degrees instead of boundaries—can offer a way out of this black-and-white thinking and can open up space for negotiation and deliberation among different and sometimes diverging perspectives.
14. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Richard Evanoff A Coevolutionary Framework for Environmental Ethics
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A coevolutionary approach to environmental ethics recognizes the extent to which cultural practices and natural processes interact with and coadapt themselves to each other, but also acknowledges the extent to which each preserves a measure of autonomy from the other. The paper begins by outlining a coevolutionary theory that sees nature and culture in transactional rather than in dualistic terms and by presenting a coevolutionary view of cultural adaptation. The paper then considers how a coevolutionary framework for ethics can be developed that sees human well-being and the environment as interrelated rather than as separate areas of ethical concern.
15. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Isabelle Stengers, Taylor S. Hammer Toward a Speculative Approach to Biological Evolution
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book reviews
16. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Parker Onto-Ethologies: The Animal Environments of Uexküll, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze
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17. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Nicolas de Warren Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty
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18. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
William Edelglass Philosophy and Animal Life
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19. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Peter Blair Heidegger and Homecoming: The Leitmotif in the Later Writings
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20. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Peter Heron An Ontology of Trash: The Disposable and its Problematic Nature
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