Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 1989
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 .