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41. 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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Donald S. Maier, Jeffrey A. Lockwood Conservation as Picking up Trash in Nature
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This essay explores a previously unexplored suggestion for combining consideration of aesthetics with considerations of vice and virtue to justify, not merely claims about nature’s beauty or its preservation, but landscape-transforming conservation projects. Its discussion is not univocal. On the one hand, it suggests that vices associated with humans assisting a creature’s journey to a new landscape make that organism’s presence on that landscape ugly. According to this suggestion, the creature may be regarded as trash, which would be virtuous to remove. On the other hand, it worries that the argument ultimately traces this circle: It is wrong to fail to remove the creature because this failure would be blameworthy; and failure to remove would be blameworthy because wrong.
45. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Beever An Ecological Turn in American Indian Environmental Ethics
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In this paper I argue that, instead of standing as an exemplar of contemporary environmentalism, North American Indian voices on the environment offer insights concerning ecological relationships that can be brought to bear on theories of environmental value and the politics of environmentalism. I argue that environmentally orthodox representations of Native views are further complicated by the metaphysics of local ecological knowledge. I then argue that moral ecologism, a normative view focused on inter­dependence throughout the living world and evidenced by contemporary American Indian voices, can help align traditional environmentalism with the contemporary scientific understanding of ecological relationships.
46. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Abigail Levin Zoo Animals as Specimens, Zoo Animals as Friends: The Life and Death of Marius the Giraffe
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The international protest surrounding the Copenhagen Zoo’s recent decision to kill a healthy giraffe in the name of population management reveals a deep moral tension between contemporary zoological display practices—which induce zoo-goers to view certain animals as individuals, quasi-persons, or friends—and the traditional objectives of zoos, which ask us only to view animals as specimens. I argue that these zoological display practices give rise to moral obligations on the part of zoos to their visitors, and thus ground indirect duties on behalf of zoos to their animals. I conclude that zoos might take on interspecies friendship as a new zoological objective.
47. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Roger Paden Nature, Disorder, and Tragedy: Towards an Evolutionary Aesthetic
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This paper outlines a normative/philosophical theory of evolutionary aesthetics, one that differs substantially from existing explanatory/psychological theories, such as Dutton’s. This evolutionary theory is based on Carlson’s scientific cognitivism, but differs in that it is based on evolutionary rather than ecological theory. After offering a short account of Carlson’s theory, I distinguish it from a normative evolutionary aesthetics. I then explore an historically important normative/philosophical theory of the aesthetics of nature that is consistent with Darwin’s theory of natural selection; namely, the theory of the picturesque. Finally, after summarizing Nietzsche’s early theory of tragedy, I discuss how some of his ideas might be incorporated into an evolutionary aesthetics.
48. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Michael Marder The Sense of Seeds, or Seminal Events
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In this text, I suggest that we approach the theme of “the event” through vegetal processes, concepts, and metaphors. Mediated through plant life, the event unfolds along three axes: 1) that of excrescence, or the out-growth, which is how plants appear in the world; 2) that of expectation, or the out-look, waiting for germination and ultimately for fruition; and 3) that of the exception, or the out-take, which extracts the seed from the closed circuit of potentiality and actuality, committing it to chance. The nascent model I propose sheds light on our animalist prejudices hidden in ostensibly abstract thought and offers a fresh starting point for postmetaphysical ontology.
49. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Susan NoorMohammadi The Role of Poetic Image in Gaston Bachelard’s Contribution to Architecture: The Enquiry into an Educational Approach in Architecture
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This paper addresses Gaston Bachelard’s phenomenology of imagination. In his book The Poetics of Space, Bachelard stresses two major elements that are significant in the creation of real images: imagination and memory. Throughout The Poetics of Space, he speaks explicitly of houses of memory and dreams and homes of childhood. However Bachelard does not speak directly of architecture, his contribution to architecture needs to be analyzed and interpreted precisely. This objective is accomplished by arguing for two basic concepts in Bachelard’s thought: the development of the concept of meaning, and recourse to the function of inhabiting. Further, the knowledge gaps in the link between inhabitation and architecture are addressed through a proposal to implicate the phenomenology of imagination in architectural education.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. 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.
54. 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.
55. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Wendy Farley Truth, Beauty, and Climate Change: A Dialogue With Continental Philosophy about Living With Denial
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This paper accesses continental philosophy to explore an analogy between the destruction caused by lack of resistance to National Socialism and the destruction caused by climate change denial. Husserl, Levinas, et alia identified a spirit of abstraction and ideology as elements of a catastrophic cultural crisis. Just as human beings were denuded of personhood, the natural world is denuded of inherent meaning. Social communication degenerates into anti-rational propaganda. Together these undermine response to climate change. Invigorating a genuine desire for truth and appreciation of the non-utilitarian good of beauty may provide some resource for undoing denial.
56. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Donald S. Maier Taking Nature Seriously in the Anthropocene
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Nature conservation in the Anthropocene predominantly supposes that human-caused changes have worsened nature’s condition, which warrants undertaking conservation projects that actively manage or manipulate nature to improve it in quality or quantity. This essay surveys, by category, reasons and arguments for pursuing these projects. It finds key reasons to be normatively unimportant and key arguments incomplete or invalid. Conservation on this basis does not take nature seriously because it acts “for no good reason.” Finally, by attending to underlying sources of this general failure, the essay suggests how a different view of the value of nature and its conservation may achieve a sounder footing.
57. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
James Hatley Telling Stories in the Company of Buffalo: Wisdom, Fluency, and Rough Knowledge
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Beginning in story and memoir, an appeal is made for the practice of “paranoiesis,” a mode of knowing appropriate to dwelling in the company of other living kinds. Paranoiesis is particularly called for in responding to the twin legacies of ecocide and genocide at work in the extirpation of Buffalo across the high plains. Philosophical responses to this plight are called upon to cultivate “rough knowledge,” a mode of hearing the other’s speaking—both human and more-than-human—that eschews dialectical opposition and negative critique for the sake of dialogical fluency and torsion.
58. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Robert Booth Acknowledging the Place of Unrest: Tensions between Radical Reflection and the Flesh
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In recent years many eco-phenomenological philosophers have argued that a more positive analysis of one’s relationship with more-than-human nature can be achieved through taking up Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the flesh. Taking such an ontology seriously seems to facilitate even the possibility of our being able to express “what the world means to say.” I argue, however, that we should be cautious about both taking up such an ontology and making such ontological claims because in doing so we fail to take sufficiently seriously the impact of sedimentation in both perception and reflection and thus violate the remit of radical reflection that is essential to Merleau-Ponty’s characterization of philosophy.
59. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Kenneth Liberman The Reversibilty of Landscapes
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Environmental philosophy has been burdened with perspectives that have failed to afford access to the actual experience of living in a landscape, and dualist and nondualist inquiries alike are plagued by anthropocentrisms that seem impossible to escape. This contribution explores how we can investigate the relation of humans and landscapes in ways that preserve what occurs there, and begin to open such experience to rigorous scrutiny. To this end, resources are drawn and synthesized from the thinking of Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Georg Simmel, Heidegger, and the author’s anthropological field research about nature, scientific praxis, human identity, and anonymity.
60. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Sol Neely On Becoming Human in Lingít Aaní: Encountering Levinas through Indigenous Inspirations
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Calls for taking up wisdom in its place risk re-inscribing coloniality at the level of signification if attempts to resituate intelligibility in the specificity of place are not enacted through a careful translation of experience between victims and perpetrators of colonial violence. At some level, decolonization ought to be conceived as a kind of translation. Emmanuel Levinas’ project to “translate” Judaism into Greek is one way of staging such decolonial translation by providing us an internal critique of coloniality while remaining receptive to indigenous inspirations that enrich eco-phenomenological ways of encountering place. In the final instance, however, this paper calls for encountering place through the indigenous languages that make place ethically legible.