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Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 4, Winter 1990

Kelly Parker
Pages 353-368

The Values of a Habitat

Recent severe environmental crises have brought us to recognize the need for a broad reevaluation of the relation of humans to their environments. I suggest that we consider the human-nature relation from two overlapping perspectives, each informed by the pragmatic philosophy of expeIience. The first is an anthropology, according to which humans are viewed as being radically continuous with their environments. The second is a comprehensive ecology, according to which both “natural” and “nonnatural” environments are studied as artificial habitats of the human organism (i.e., as artifacts). The pragmatic approach has two features which make it promising as a way to ground environmental thinking. First, it allows us to avoid a human-nature dichotomy and the many problems which that dichotomy has traditionally engendered . Second, it ties environmental questions to a common cultural experience and a philosophical position from which environmentalists can effectively engage mainstream educational and political discussions.

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