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Environmental Ethics

Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 1989

Peter Reed
Pages 53-69
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics198911119

Man Apart
An Alternative to the Self-Realization Approach

Seeing nature as ultimately separate from us rather than as apart of us is the source of a powerful environmental ethic. The work of Martin Buber, Rudolf Otto, and Peter Wessei Zapffe forms the conceptual framework for a view of nature as a Thou or a “Wholly Other,” a view which inspires awe for the nonhuman intrinsic value in nature. In contrast to the Self-realization approach of Naess and others, intrinsic value is here independent of the notion of a self. This approach suggests an ethic of humility and respect for nonhuman nature-to the degree that the continued existence of humans should be considered an open question .

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