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Environmental Ethics

Volume 6, Issue 4, Winter 1984

Bruce V. Foltz
Pages 323-338

On Heidegger and the Interpretation of Environmental Crisis

Through an examination of the thought of Martin Heidegger, I argue that the relation between human beings and the natural environment can be more radically comprehended by critically examining the character of the relation itself with regard to how it has been shaped and articulated by the tradition ofWestern metaphysics, particularly in light of the manner in which this tradition contains the central presuppositions of both modern natural science as weIl as contemporary technology. I conclude with an examination of a “deconstructive analysis” of the concept of nature that has dominated Western philosophy; with a delineation of an alternative understanding of the environment, that is nevertheless deeply rooted in the Western tradition; and with a proposal that the present “environmental crisis” ultimately derives not from certain Judeo-Christian “values,” as it is commonly claimed, but from the initial metaphysical orientation of early Greek philosophy.

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