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21. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jason M. Wirth Dōgen and the Unknown Knowns: The Practice of the Wild after the End of Nature
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Thinkers like Slavoj Žižek and Tim Morton have heralded the end of our ideological constructions of nature, warning that popular “ecology” or the “natural” is just the latest opiate of the masses. Attempting to think what I call Nature after Nature, I turn to the Kamakura period Zen master Dōgen Eihei (1200–1253) to explore the possibilities of thinking Nature in its non-ideological self-presentation or what Dōgen called “mountains and rivers (sansui).” I bring Dōgen into dialogue with his great champion, the American poet Gary Snyder (who understands the process of sansui as “the wild”), as well as with thinkers as diverse as Schelling, Kundera, Žižek, Agamben, and Muir. Beyond Nature being any one thing, what Badiou derides as the “cosmological one,” I argue for the reawakening and sobering up to multiple Nature, beyond its appearance as an object to a discerning subject, as the bioregions which give us our interdependent and dynamic being.
22. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Hwa Yol Jung A Prolegomenon to Transversal Geophilosophy
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This essay proposes the idea of transversal geophilosophy as ultima philosophia to save the earth. Geophilosophy is that philosophical discipline which embraces all matters of the earth as a whole. Since it requires global efforts on all fronts, it is necessarily cross-cultural, cross-speciesistic, and cross-disciplinary, that is, geophilosophy is transversal. It attends especially to the importance of Sinism, which incorporates Confucianism, Daoism, and Chan/Zenb Buddhism, in constructing an ethico-aesthetic paradigm. Sinism is a species of relational ontology or philosophy of Interbeing which defines reality as social process, that is, in the cosmos everything is connected to everything else or nothing exists in isolation, that coincides with the “first law” of ecology. Not only is the aesthetic a discourse of the body, but also the body is our anchorage in the world. In Sinism, the aesthetic and the ethical come together in the embodied concept of harmony, which is the master keyboard, as it were, they are being played together: what is harmonious is simultaneously beautiful and ethical, which culminates in the cosmopolitan virtue of ren. Today we must walk tomorrow as well as yesterday: we steop backward in order to step forward. The Way (Dao) of Ecopiety is to be had in part by recycling the ancient wisdom of Sinism instead of abandoning it as old and foreign.
23. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Daniel L. Crescenzo Loose Integrity and Ecosystem Justice on Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach
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David Schlosberg argues that Nussbaum’s capabilities approach can include ecosystems as subjects of justice if we view integrity, rather than dignity, as the conceptual ground for being a subject of justice. I further specify Schlosberg’s concept of ecosystem integrity, arguing that it should be understood as loose integrity. An ecosystem has loose integrity if it retains its capacity to return, after disruption, to functioning as substantially the same kind of system it was before disruption. Finally, I argue that the opportunity for ecosystems to maintain loose integrity can become the object of an overlapping consensus.
24. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Roger Paden A Defense of the Picturesque
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The eighteenth century notion of the “picturesque” has been misunderstood by many contemporary environmental aestheticians. This has contributed both to amisunderstanding of the history of environmental aesthetics and, within the discipline, to a misunderstanding of English garden design. This essay contains a discussion of the term as it appears in environmental aesthetics literature and an examination of the history of the term as used in eighteenth-century garden design literature. This history is used to contest the account of the term as used by contemporary environmental aestheticians and to develop a philosophically more interesting interpretation of it.
25. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Elisa Aaltola Empathy, Intersubjectivity, and Animal Philosophy
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The aim of this paper is to investigate key works on empathy and intersubjectivity and to compare how they relate to non-human animals. It will be suggested that intersubjectivity forms a powerful objection to skepticism concerning the minds of other animals and lays the grounds for normatively loaded empathic responses. It will also be argued that the core of intersubjectivity takes place outside of propositional language, thus defying the linguocentric stance often adopted in relation to other animals. Although descriptions of non- or pre-lingual responses is challenging, the type of “attention” brought forward by Simone Weil is offered as one alternative way of understanding what it is to pay heed to animal others, and the work of the ethologist Barbara Smuts is brought forward asan example of such attention.
26. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Ignasi Ribó Worlds and Words: Of Bats, Ticks, and Apes
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Three approximations to the understanding of nonhuman animals are discussed. Ethologists and philosophers of mind, guided by an objectifying model of cognition, have not enquired about the being-in-the-world of animals and their meaning. The continental tradition has been asking the right questions, but has not given adequate answers, as ontological discourse remains tied up with logocentrism. Kafka’s animal fictions are presented as an example of how the human logos can be attentive to the worlds of other animals and allow them to manifest themselves in their own being, an attitude defined as imaginary attentiveness.
27. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul Ott Aesthetic Experience and Experiential Unity in Leopold’s Conservation Philosophy: A Deweyan Interpretation
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In this paper, I address the motivation gap that prevents many people from acquiring and activating environmental values. In the face of this gap, I analyze Aldo Leopold’s conservation philosophy as a potential solution. This is done by reading Leopold through John Dewey’s theory of aesthetic experience, in which motivated action develops out of unified aesthetic experience made up of three phases: action, emotion, and intelligence. Showing that Leopold’s approach to conservation exhibits this aesthetic structure not only gives it a clearer organization but promotes its use for rectifying the severe lack of environmental conscience and practice in society.
28. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Renaud Barbaras Exodus and Exile
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This article aims at accounting for the difference between human and animal from a tension between two movements: an archi-movement which defines the way of being of the world and is life itself, and an archi-event of separation of the world from itself that affects life and is the source of living beings. Animal can be characterized by the fact that, in spite of being separated from the archi-life movement, the power of this movement prevails on the archi-event. This means that the animal can be defined by an intimacy with the world, to such an extent that his movements are deeply inscribed in the world. Animal relates with the world by drifting and gliding within it: its existence is exodus. On the contrary, the human relationship with the world is dominated by a separation from rather than a drift within it, to such an extent that the human’s distinguishing feature is the fact that it has no place in the world and is, in this sense, characterized by an exile from this world.
29. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Annabelle Dufourcq Is a World without Animals Possible?
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Husserl’s phenomenology entails the absolute thesis that there could not be a world without a subject. My intention in this paper is to show that the consistent development of a phenomenological approach can establish that such a transcendental subject must be defined as a fundamental open intersubjectivity and more radically as interanimality. I intend to demonstrate that anthropomorphism cannot be a serious threat and that Einfühlung [empathy] is a valid method for studying animality. In this regard, I will contrast a Husserlian-inspired and a Merleau-Pontian approach with Heidegger’s reflections on animals. This method will allow me to study the intertwinement between humans and other animals. On the one hand I will show that we necessarily find animality within us, in the latent multiplicity of a body which is built through introjections and projections. On the other hand I will wonder if it is possible to decenter ourselves into other living beings so as to sense what they think and to build a world with them. It will then appear, through a reflection on Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and the Invisible as well as on recent ethological studies, that openness to the other and to indeterminacy is an essential characteristic of animals in general.
30. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Louise Westling Tres Bête: Evolutionary Continuity and Human Animality
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As a way of extending Jacques Derrida’s urging that philosophers think about the findings of recent scientific animal studies, this essay asserts that such attention to ethology, primatology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience makes it necessary to accept a biological continuum between humans and other animals. Countering Heidegger’s claims of abyssal difference and Derrida’s apparent agreement, this discussion examines work by Terrence Deacon and Philip Lieberman on the evolution of human speech, studies in animal communication, genetics, and biosemiotics to demonstrate our kinship with other animals, but also our distinctive abilities. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Nature lectures provide a theoretical understanding of this strange kinship and an early philosophical engagement with science that anticipated Derrida’s notion of its relevance. Final attention to Derrida’s claims that it would be trop bête to speak of biological continuism reveals the possibility that he intended to undermine such a position and open the way for philosophy to consider primatology and evolutionary genetics.
31. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Jean-Claude Monod Why I Talk to My Dog: Husserl and the Extension of Intersubjectivity
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It is a common experience that we talk to some animals, especially those with which we share our human lives, such as dogs or cats. From this communication, should one conclude that these animals participate in intersubjectivity? Though Husserl’s phenomenology has a “Cartesian” tendency, in his late reflections on the variations of “normal” consciousness and the “normal” body, he suggests that there are degrees of subjectivity, following a more “Leibnizian” path. Scheler, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas have also developed this thesis of a “sympathy” with animals beyond the limits of the human species.
32. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Ted Toadvine The Time of Animal Voices
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Phenomenology’s attention to the theme of animality has focused not on animal life in general but rather on the animal dimension of the human and its contested relation with humanity as such. Phenomenology thereby reproduces Agamben’s “anthropological machine” by which humanity is constructed through the “inclusive exclusion” of its animality. The alternative to this “inclusive exclusion” is not a return to kinship or commonality but rather an intensification of the constitutive paradox of our own inner animality, understood in terms of the anonymous, corporeal subject of perception that lives a different temporality than that of first-person consciousness. Consequently, non-human others speak through our own voices and gaze out through our own eyes. We first consider the proximity of Merleau-Ponty’s early work with that of Max Scheler, who paradigmatically reduces human animality to bare life. Merleau-Ponty differentiates himself from Scheler, in The Structure of Behavior, by insisting that life cannot be integrated into spirit without remainder. Merleau-Ponty’s later work thinks this remainder as the ineliminable gap and delay in the auto-affection of the body and as a chiasmic exchange that anticipates Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “becoming animal.” This remainder of life within consciousness is the immemorial past of one’s own animality. It follows that our “inner animality” is neither singular nor plural but a kind of pack that speaks through the voice that I take to be mine. Furthermore, in the exchange of looks between myself and a non-human other, the crossing of glances occurs at an animal level that withdraws from my own reflective consciousness.
33. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Hans Rainer Sepp Worldly-Being Out of World: Animality in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
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Is there an anthropological difference within the basic style by which human beings exist ‘in’ world? The central problem of Gregor Samsa’s metamorphosis and the specific status of his animality can be focused by this question. Perhaps this difference manifests itself only when the human being has become estranged from any normal relation to world: when it has been changed into a shape of subjectivity that no longer shares the common net of a world of sense, and remains only an ‘animal.’ The moment is tragic in that the attempt to live an alternative style of worldly being results in the ‘animalyzed’ subject’s condemnation to death.
34. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Étienne Bimbenet The Fallacy of Human Animality
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In this article I reconsider the question of anthropological difference. I demonstrate that at least three motives prevent us from facing up to the originality of human behavior: science, morals, and also philosophy want us to believe that this question is a thing of the past. I come back to these three motives so as to criticize them and to reveal their flimsiness. And I try to show that one may advocate, in a naturalistic way and without metaphysics, the idea that there remains something that is “proper to humankind.”
35. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Petr Urban Joint Attention and Anthropological Difference
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According to Michael Tomasello’s evolutionary anthropological approach, joint attention is one of the essential keys to understanding the difference between human and animal. The present paper discusses a recent phenomenological account of the anthropological difference inspired by Tomasello’s conception. A criticism of this account is put forward, while an alternative view is also introduced that stresses the impact of differential rearing experiences on the socio-cognitive development of human and non-human animals.
36. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Patrícia Vieira Phytographia: Literature as Plant Writing
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This article develops the notion of plant writing or phytographia, the roots of which go back to the early modern concept of signatura rerum, as well as, more recently, to Walter Benjamin’s idea of a “language of things” and to Jacques Derrida’s arche-writing. Phytographia designates the encounter between the plants’ inscription in the world and the traces of that imprint left in literary works, mediated by the artistic perspective of the author. The final section of the essay turns to the so-called “jungle novel,” set in the Amazonian rainforest, as an instantiation of phytographia.
37. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Michael Goldsby, W. John Koolage Climate Modeling: Comments on Coincidence, Conspiracy, and Climate Change Denial
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Despite overwhelming evidence that climate change is real and represents a serious challenge for human flourishing, many still hold that climate change is not a credible threat—including a surprising number of broadcast meteorologists. In this article, we look at the logic that underwrites such an attitude, which typically appeals to a distrust of climate models, natural variability, or the presence of a conspiracy. Using a model selection framework, championed by Elliott Sober and Malcolm Forster, we will show that appeals to such lines of reasoning do not provide sufficient warrant to dismiss the predictions of climate models.
38. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Andrew J. Corsa Henry David Thoreau: Greatness of Soul and Environmental Virtue
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I read Henry David Thoreau as an environmental virtue theorist. In this paper, I use Thoreau’s work as a tool to explore the relation between the virtue of greatness of soul and environmental virtues. Reflecting on connections between Thoreau’s texts and historical discussions of greatness of soul, or magnanimity, I offer a novel conception of magnanimity. I argue that (1) to become magnanimous, most individuals need to acquire the environmental virtue of simplicity; and (2) magnanimous individuals must possess the environmental virtue of benevolence in order to achieve their goals.
39. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Patrik Baard Change of Plans?: An Environmental Pragmatist View on Reconsidering Long-term Goals
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Sustainable ecosystem management often requires setting goals despite uncertainty regarding the achievability and desirability of the intended state of affairs. Coming to doubt the achievability or desirability of a previously set goal might sometimes, but not always, require reconsidering that goal. There is, however, a need to strike a balance between responsiveness to new information and knowing when to retain goals despite doubts. By critically engaging with adaptive ecosystem management (AEM), as advocated by environmental pragmatist Bryan G. Norton, criteria for warranted reconsideration of long-term goals are investigated.
40. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Pierfrancesco Biasetti From Beauty to Love: A Kantian Way to Environmental Moral Theory?
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In this paper, I set myself what many people would consider an unfeasible task: finding a Kantian way to an environmental moral theory. The paper is divided in four parts. In the first part I show why looking at Kant’s moral theory in order to build an environmental theory is like trying to get blood out of a stone. I then show how it should be, instead, possible to build an environmental theory by bridging Kant’s account of aesthetic value with love of nature. In the last two parts of the paper I deal with some possible criticisms and sketch the contours of the environmental stance born from Kant’s aesthetic treatment of nature.