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Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 3, Fall 1990

Murray Bookchin
Pages 253-274

Recovering Evolution
A Reply to Eckersley and Fox

Robyn Eckersley claims erroneously that I believe humanity is currently equipped to take over the “helm” of natural evolution. In addition, she provides a misleading treatment of my discussion of the relationship of first nature (biological evolution) and second nature (social evolution). I argue that her positivistic methodology is inappropriate in dealing with my processual approach and that her Manichaean contrast between biocentrism and anthropocentrism virtually excludes any human intervention in the natural world. With regard to Warwick Fox’s treatment of my writings, I argue that he deals with my views on society’s relationship to nature in a simplistic, narrowly deterministic, and ahistorical manner. I fault both of my deep ecology critics for little or no knowledge of my writings. I conclude with an outline of a dialectical naturalism that treats nature as an evolutionary process-not simply as a scenic view-and places human and sodal evolution in a graded relationship with natural evolution. I emphasize that society and humanity can no longer be separated from natural evolution and that the kind of society we achieve will either foster the development of first nature or damage the planet beyond repair.

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