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Displaying: 81-100 of 427 documents

book reviews
81. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Nathaniel Wolloch Svetozar Y. Minkov and Bernhardt L. Trout, eds. Mastery of Nature: Promises and Prospects
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82. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Brian Treanor Editor's Introduction: Environmental Hermeneutics: In Memory of W. S. K. “Scott” Cameron
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83. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Chandler D. Rogers Beyond Biosecurity
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As boundaries between domesticity and the undomesticated increasingly blur for cohabitants of Vancouver Island, home to North America’s densest cougar population, predatorial problems become more and more pressing. Rosemary-Claire Collard responds on a pragmatic plane, arguing that the encounter between human and cougar is only ever destructive, that contact results in death and almost always for the cougar. Advocating for vigilance in policing boundaries separating cougar from civilization, therefore, she looks to Foucault’s analysis of modern biopower in the first volume of his History of Sexuality for support in favor of a more contemporary notion of biosecurity. In response to Collard’s arguments, concerned with ethical conclusions drawn on the basis of her policy-based proposal, I challenge the prohibition she places on encounter. In the first section, “Becoming Killable,” I address her use of Donna Haraway’s phraseology, and in the second section, “Biological Dangers,” I scrutinize her reading of Foucault, arguing that the appeals she makes distort the mode of argumentation at work for each thinker. The final section, “Facing Cougar, Facing Death,” advocates further ethical possibilities generated on the basis of Foucault’s correlation between overcoming the fear of death and resisting abuses of power with respect to others. My contention is that our transgressing boundaries constructed to separate humanity from the inhumane curtails tendencies toward the marginalization and subjugation of those animal others whose very existence brings us face to face with the fact of our own mortality.
84. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Christina M. Gschwandtner Can We Learn to Hear Ethical Calls? In Honor of Scott Cameron
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This article tries to grapple with the difficulty of hearing the call of the other and recognizing it as a call that obligates us to ethical response, especially when such a “call” is not issued by a human other but by other species or environmental precarity more broadly. I briefly review how ethical responsibility is articulated by Emmanuel Lévinas and then consider some of the ways in which his philosophy has been applied to environmental questions. I suggest that while some calls might be obvious and obligate by the blatant need almost impossible to ignore, in many cases a hermeneutic context and predisposition is required in order to “hear” a call and understand it as ethically obligating. I conclude with one example of how it might be possible to inculcate such dispositions that would attune us to more careful hearing and might cause us to recognize ethical obligation.
85. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Maskit Urban Mobility—Urban Discovery: A Phenomenological Aesthetics for Urban Environments
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In this paper I investigate how different modes of urban transportation shape our experience of the urban environment. My goal is to argue that how we move through a space is not merely a question of convenience or efficiency. Rather, our transportation technologies can fundamentally shift how we experience where we are. I propose a framework for considering mobility from the standpoint of phenomenological everyday aesthetics considering the social, somatic, temporal-epistemic, and affective characteristics of experience. I then suggest a typology of different forms of urban mobility distinguishing between private and public forms of transportation as well as between faster and slower modes. I next suggest a trio of factors—speed, ability to survey one’s surroundings, and ease of interruption—that play into how we experience an urban environment while discovering it by means of mobility. By applying the framework of experience and the trio of factors to the typology of transportation modes I show how each of them can foster or hinder an aesthetic experience of the urban environment. I conclude by reflecting on some further issues for investigation including the role of power in urban space, questions concerning mobility and difference (class, race, dis/ability, etc.), the place of technological mediation in urban mobility, and the role of spatial planning.
86. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Brook Muller Blue Architectures (The City and the Wild in Concentrate)
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It is more than a coincidence that in his two essays, “Wilderness and the City: Not such a Long Drive After All” and “Can Cities Be Both Natural and Successful? Reflections Grounding Two Apparently Oxymoronic Aspirations,” Scott Cameron looks to water as a basis for evaluating the city in relationship to the wild and in imagining new possibilities for urban nature. In an attempt to complement and enrich Cameron’s thinking, this essay focuses on emerging, decentralized and ecologically responsive approaches to water and wastewater systems in architectural projects in dense urban environments. Such an emphasis on “blue architectures” allows for a reframing of the city/nature relationship in terms of degrees of concentration—of water, organisms, and pollutants—as a precursor to considerations of distances involved (“not such a long drive”). To concentrate on localized hydrologic conditions is to support the integrity of broader scale ecological systems and to reconnect urban dwellers to processes that bear directly on the wild.
87. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
David Utsler Is Nature Natural? And Other Linguistic Conundrums: Scott Cameron’s Hermeneutic Defense of the Concept of Nature
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One of Scott Cameron’s most recent contributions to environmental hermeneutics (a field in which he was a founding scholar) was to defend the concept of nature against those who would argue that it should be abandoned in order to stave off the ecological destruction. Rather than jettison nature as an outdated and unhelpful construct, Cameron argued for its redemption based on Gadamer’s hermeneutical insights into language. In this article, I will look at Cameron’s arguments against Steven Vogel as well as particular points made against nature as a concept recently articulated by Slavoj Žižek and Timothy Morton. I will follow these arguments through, demonstrating that while the arguments can be accepted and are, indeed, accurate, the conclusion that the concept of nature be abandoned need not and should not be conceded. Finally, I will return to Cameron’s hermeneutic defense of a concept of nature and expand further on his insights and arguments. With Cameron, I conclude that the concept of nature can be redeemed. Extending Cameron’s line of reasoning, I argue that this aim is accomplished by refiguring the concept of nature with the insights offered by philosophical hermeneutics.
88. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Steven Vogel Doing without Nature: On Interpretation and Practice
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Sorry that he is no longer here to read it, I consider in this paper Scott Cameron’s discussion of my views questioning the value of the concept of “nature” for environmental philosophy. Scott had suggested, based on arguments from hermeneutics, that although we never have access to a nature independent of our interpretations of it, still the existence of such a nature is necessarily presupposed by all such interpretations. I claim in response that if we replace the (idealist) notion of interpretation by the (materialist) one of practice, that presupposition is no longer necessary: the independence required is built into the notion of practice itself, and need not be seen as a characteristic of the world “outside” of us.
89. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Sean J. McGrath In Defense of the Human Difference
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Against the prevalent trend in eco-criticism which is to deny the human difference, I summon a set of untimely tropes from metaphysics in the interest of advancing an ecological humanism: the difference in kind between human consciousness and animal sensibility; the uniquely human capacity for moral discernment; and the human being’s peculiar freedom from the material conditions of existence. While I agree with eco-critics who argue that anthropocenic nature is not only finite, but sick: sickened by our abuse and neglect, I disagree that this abuse is simply a result of insisting on the human difference (“anthropocentrism”), nor is species egalitarianism the way forward. On the contrary, the eco-collapse, referred to as the sixth great extinction event, is the consequence of a general disavowal of the human’s special call to take responsibility for the relation between the human and the non-human, and only a re-awakening of this responsibility can restore health to anthropocenic nature. The non-human cannot effect this restoration, for that is not its vocation. A difference in vocation is not necessarily a difference in moral worth, and so the human difference does not justify denying the “intrinsic value” of the non-human. Humanity is uniquely responsible both for the mess we are in and for cleaning it up.
book reviews
90. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Abigail Klassen Eric T. Freyfogle. A Good That Transcends: How US Culture Undermines Environmental Reform
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91. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Dan Liu Wayne Gabardi. The Next Social Contract: Animals, the Anthropocene, and Biopolitics
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92. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Sam Mickey Gerard Kuperus. Ecopolitical Homelessness: Defining Place in an Unsettled World
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93. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Sarah-Louise Ruder Clive Hamilton. Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene
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94. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Clint Wilson III Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore. A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet
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95. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
John Charles Ryan That Seed Sets Time Ablaze: Vegetal Temporality in Judith Wright’s Botanical Poetics
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The time of vegetal life itself—denoted as plant-time in this article, following the work of Michael Marder—is essential to human-plant relations. Conceptualized as a multi-dimensional plexity, vegetal temporality embodies the endemic land-based seasons, rhythms, cycles, and timescales of flora in conjunction with human patterns. The contemporary poet Judith Wright invoked a time-space continuum throughout her writing as a means to convey the primordial character of Australian plants while resisting the imposition of a colonialist schema of time. Wright’s bold textualization of vegetal temporality embodies her commitment to fostering botanical ethics and locally-grounded activism on behalf of Aboriginal people and the Australian environment.
96. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Henry Dicks The Poetics of Biomimicry: The Contribution of Poetic Concepts to Philosophical Inquiry into the Biomimetic Principle of Nature as Model
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The Ancient Greeks understood both art and technology (techne) as imitation (mimesis) of Nature (physis). This article argues that the rapidly growing ecological innovation strategy known as biomimicry makes it possible for technology to leave behind the modern goal of “mastering and possessing” Nature and instead to rediscover the initial vocation it shared with art: imitating Nature. This in turn suggests a general strategy for philosophical inquiry into the biomimetic principle of “Nature as model”: the transposition of philosophical analyses of concepts associated primarily with poetics and related fields—mimesis, mimicry, translation, analogy, metaphor, etc.—into the philosophy of biomimicry.
97. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Simon Lumsden Veganism, Normative Change, and Second Nature
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This paper draws on the account of second nature in Aristotle, Dewey and Hegel to examine the way in which norms become embodied. It discusses the implications of this for both the authority of norms and how they can be changed. Using the example of veganism it argues that changing norms requires more than just good reasons. The appreciation of the role of second nature in culture allows us to: firstly, better conceive the difficulty and resistance of individuals to changing norms because of the material resilience of norms, habits and customs in a culture. Secondly, it argues that the effective adoption of a new norm such as veganism or the behavioral change necessary to respond to climate change, requires not just more good reasons but the creation of material pathways in the culture in which those revised norms can be inhabited.
98. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Judy Spark Visibility Sometimes Wandering and Sometimes Reassembled: On Being in Rain
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If we attend to things only in terms of their bearing on our own projects then our experience of them will be filtered through their compatibility or incompatibility with those aims. This essay is about the experience of rain in the northern latitudes and the work is built around a phenomenological description that relies on accounts of direct experience which are then considered through Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s conception of flesh. In thinking through the phenomenon in this way, the overlapping nature of interior and exterior “reality” (and thereby human and world) can be foregrounded and the notion of a dichotomy between these realms, undermined.
99. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Mihnea Tanasescu Responsibility and the Ethics of Ecological Restoration
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This paper argues that the concept of responsibility can and should ground an ethics of ecological restoration. It starts with William Jordan’s concept of restoration, namely the creation of mutually beneficial human-nature relationships. It builds a concept of responsibility using the works of Hans Jonas and Martin Drenthen, understood as a correlate of our technological capacity, as well as a relationship to the possibility of meaningfulness today and in the indefinite future. It is argued that we are responsible in a deep sense for engaging in projects of restoration in order to ensure the survival of embodied meaningfulness in the world.
100. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Joachim Wündisch Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Individual Excusable Ignorance after 1990: A Study of Excusable Ignorance in Collective Action Problems
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The thesis of this paper is that individual emitters, in contrast to governments, may be justified in employing excusable ignorance as an excuse after 1990 and even well into the future. Although it may at first seem counterintuitive, this is not only true of individuals with extremely limited access to information but potentially also of highly educated individuals with almost boundless access to data, reports, and analyses. I develop the argument based on an influential account of excusable ignorance and discuss and reject an objection from expert testimony.