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Environmental Ethics

Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 1989

Warwick Fox
Pages 5-25

The Deep Ecology-Ecofeminism Debate and Its Parallels

There has recently been considerable discussion of the relative merits of deep ecology and ecofeminism, primarily from an ecofeminist perspective. I argue that the essential ecofeminist charge against deep ecology is that deep ecology focuses on the issue of anthropocentrism (i.e., human-centeredness) rather than androcentrism (i.e., malecenteredness). I point out that this charge is not directed at deep ecology’s positive or constructive task of encouraging an attitude of ecocentric egalitarianism, but rather at deep ecology's negative or critical task of dismantling anthropocentrism. I outline a number of problems that can attend not only the ecofeminist critique of deep ecology, but also comparable critiques that proceed from a broad range of social and political perspectives. I then proceed to argue that deep ecology’s concem with anthropocentrism is entirely defensible-and defensible in a way that should be seen as complementing and expanding the focus of radical social and political critiques rather than in terms of these approaches versus deep ecology.

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