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Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 3, Fall 1990

Thomas W. Simon
Pages 211-231

Varieties of Ecological Dialectics

A hierarchical ordering of approaches afflicts environmental thinking. An ethics of individualism unjustly overrides social/political philosophy in environmental debates. Dialectics helps correct this imbalance. In dialectical fashion, a synthesis emerges between conflicting approaches to dialectics and to nature from: Marxism (Levins and Lewontin), anarchism (Bookchin), and Native Americanism (Black Elk). Conflicting (according to Marxists) and cooperative (according to anarchists) forces both operate in nature. Ethics (anarchist), political theory (Marxist), and spirituality (Native American) constitute the interconnected interpretative domains of a dialectically informed ecophilosophy. In a world painted too often in blacks and whites, ecological dialectics colors the picture a more realistic gray.

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