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41. 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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. 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.
47. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Arnold Berleant Some Questions for Ecological Aesthetics
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Ecology has become a popular conceptual model in numerous fields of inquiry and it seems especially appropriate for environmental philosophy. Apart from its literal employment in biology, ecology has served as a useful metaphor that captures the interdependence of factors in a field of research. At the same time as ecology is suggestive, it cannot be followed literally or blindly. This paper considers the appropriateness of the uses to which ecology has been put in some recent discussions of architectural and environmental aesthetics, and develops a critique of the differing ecological aesthetics of Jusuck Koh and Xiangzhan Cheng.
48. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Joseph Masco The Six Extinctions: Visualizing Planetary Ecological Crisis Today
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This article examines the visualization strategies informing public understandings of planetary scale ecological crisis. Working with scientific visualizations as well as the Suicide Narcissus art exhibition, it interrogates the inherent problems in conveying extinction as a process and future potential. This essay ultimately considers the psychosocial tensions inherent in contemplating collective death.
49. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Monika Bakke Art and Metabolic Force in Deep Time Environments
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Contemporary art practices which take into consideration both bio­logical and geological perspectives on the environment offer an inspiring contribution to the growing geological awareness in the humanities. By drawing attention to the role of metabolic forces in evolution, including inorganic activity, artists enquire into the geological past and future of the earth and beyond. Their work suggests that in a time of environmental crisis, it is particularly important to design future metabolic networks for ourselves and non-human others aimed not only at waste reduction and energy efficiency, but also prioritizing multispecies alliances beyond the biological.
50. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Sabine Höhler Survival: Mars Fiction and Experiments with Life on Earth
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This paper explores examples of Mars fiction of “terraforming”—of creating Earth-like environments in space—against the background of the Earth’s environmental degradation and restoration. Visions of Mars settlement offered an escape route for a threatened humanity and a blueprint for the eco-technological recreation of the Earth’s environment. This paper aims to outline the Anthropocene as an epoch that not only compromised the Earth but also essentially transformed the understanding of Earthly life to a minimalist principle of survival through infinite metabolic conversions. This understanding of immortality conjoined images of recreation and creation, of paradisiacal pasts and eco-technological futures.
51. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Elaine Gan An Unintended Race: Miracle Rice and the Green Revolution
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Engineered for fast harvests and high yields through chemicals, miracle rice triggered a green revolution throughout Southeast Asia and one of the largest anthropogenic disturbances to the nitrogen cycle in the twentieth century. This article considers the green revolution as an event of more-than-human temporalities, an aleatory formation of vegetal, animal, chemical, and human coordinations that has become a world-changing conjuncture. I present the formation as an unintended race—that is, an interplay of differential speeds. I offer a countermodernist account of structural transformation, doing history otherwise, to challenge anthropocentric narratives of progress and call attention to contingent multispecies coordinations that drive modernity’s acceleration.
52. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Dolly Jørgensen Endling, the Power of the Last in an Extinction-Prone World
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In April 1996, two men working at a convalescent center wrote a letter to the journal Nature proposing that a new word be adopted to designate a person who is the last in the lineage: endling. This had come up because of patients who were dying and thought of themselves as the last of their family line. The word was not picked up in medical circles. But, in 2001, when the National Museum of Australia (NMA) opened its doors, it featured a gallery called Tangled Destinies and endling reappeared. On the wall facing a case with a thylacine specimen was written: Endling (n.) The last surviving individual of a species of animal or plant. Since that appearance, the word endling has slowly seeped into popular culture, appearing in symphonic music, performance art, science fiction stories, comics, and other art works. This paper examines the cultural power of the concept of endling as the last of a species and the history of its mobilization in a world facing extinction around every corner.
53. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Emily Thew Narcissistic Attachments: A Melancholic Reading of De-Extinction Projects
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This essay examines the relationship between human and non­human animals in the context of de-extinction projects. Following van Dooren and Rose’s (2015) suggestion that de-extinction projects are reluctant to engage with mourning work, I argue that these scientific endeavours can be understood as inherently melancholic. In reading them as such, I focus on the concepts of identification and ambivalence central to Freud’s theorisation of melancholia, and argue that looking at these key ideas in relation to de-extinction reveals the way that notions of human exceptionalism can be problematized by a psychoanalytic reading of these projects.
54. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Robert Frodeman The Role of Humanities Policy in Public Science
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The relationship between philosophy and the community has become relevant again. It has been the government itself, in the form of public science agencies, which has turned to philosophy and the humanities for help, rather than vice versa. Since 1990, US federal science agencies * agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation * have steadily increased their support of social science and humanities research. This support is all the more striking in that it has happened at a time when federal support for direct humanities research, through the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has declined. The times demand a corollary to the field of science policy. Just as science policy seeks to offer a systematic evaluation of how science contribute to decision making, humanities policy can methodically investigate how the humanities can better contribute to policy making and how it can help science and technology take better account of societal values.
55. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ellen M. Maccarone The Ethics of Advocacy: Scientists and Environmental Policy
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A current issue in environmental ethics concerns the role of scientists as advocates for environmental policy. Some have argued that scientists should not be permitted to be policy advocates. I will argue that it is morally permissible for scientists to be advocates for environmental policies for four reasons. First, since scientists are also citizens it is improper to deny them the opportunity to advocate for certain policies. Second, scientists possess some expertise in these areas should be sought out to advocate for these positions precisely because they are the ones with the knowledge, understanding and access to objective studies relating to policy issues. Third, I will argue that while objectivity is required for research, advocacy for policy issues does not entail the failure of objectivity. Last, scientists advocating for environmental policy meets the ethical requirements for advocacy generally offered by Robert Audi. These give us good reason to think it is morally permissible for scientists to act as advocates for environmental policy.
56. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
57. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ingrid Leman Stefanovic EDITORIAL PREFACE
58. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
W. S. K. Cameron Can We Afford the Tough Love of Liberals?: A Deflationary Look at Garrett Hardin’s Lifeboat Ethic
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In two shocking articles that appeared in 1968 and 1974, Garrett Hardin argued that the population explosion was producing a “tragedy of the commons.” Since we lack an effective method of sharing common resources, the strong incentive for individuals to appropriate them selfishly would soon lead to their collapse. To mitigate this danger, Hardin proposed a “lifeboat ethic”: less populated and -polluted Western countries should deny food aid to developing nations, where it would save lives only to increase population pressure, and they should close their borders to immigration to prevent their lifeboats from becoming overcrowded and going down with the rest. This paper challenges and complicates Hardin’s account of the tragedy. While there is something right about his view, its vulnerability to a series of empirical challenges reflects its conceptual limitations. I argue that we need to develop a broadly ethical and arguably religious solution to the twin challenges of population growth and pollution. If the liberal commitment to negative freedom is, ironically, largely responsible for our current ecological bind, our only hope of escape is to build bridges between traditions in search of a thicker sense of ethicopolitical obligation.
59. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Heather Douglas Boundaries between Science and Policy: Descriptive Difficulty and Normative Desirability
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In the debate over the role of science in environmental policy, it is often assumed that science can and should be clearly demarcated from policy. In this paper, I will argue that neither is the case. The difficulty of actually differentiating the scientific arena from the policy arena becomes apparent the moment one attempts to actually locate the boundary. For example, it is unclear whether scientific summaries to be used by regulatory agencies are in the realm of science or policy. If science, then should the authors consider the regulatory implications of uncertainties? If policy, then what is the relevance of a peer review of the document solely by scientists? This descriptive problem is only accentuated by a normative problem: should we try to keep the two realms distinct? The traditional answer has been yes, for the primary reason that the science should not be infected by the social and ethical values so prevalent in the policy realm. I will argue that, to the contrary, social and ethical values are desirable components of scientific reasoning. Indeed, on closer examination, the norms for valuesin reasoning are the same for science and policy. If I am correct, the pressure to delineate science from policy abates.
60. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Adam Briggle Visions of Nantucket: The Aesthetics and Policy of Wind Power
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Natural science and economics are regularly used as means for adjudicating environmental controversies. But can these become stalking-horses for other concerns? Might some environmental controversies be aesthetic in nature and likely to resist resolution unless and until we acknowledge this? This paper uses the case study of a proposed wind farm to examine the relationships between the humanities, sciences, and stakeholders in environmental decision making. After providing background on wind power and the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, it addresses four questions: What does “aesthetics” mean? Howwere aesthetic concerns expressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and what were the shortcomings of the EIS process? How could it be improved? This last question raises issues about how to rationally adjudicate matters of aesthetics in environmental policy making. The paper concludes with some thoughts on why this is such an important (and thorny) issue and what role humanists should play in environmental disputes.