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Environmental Ethics

Volume 25, Issue 2, Summer 2003

Sharon Rowe, James D. Sellman
Pages 129-148

An Uncommon Alliance
Ecofeminism and Classical Daoist Philosophy

Classical philosophical Daoism and ecofeminism converge on key points. Ecofeminism’s critique of Western dualistic metaphysics finds support in Daoism’s nondualistic, particularist, cosmological framework, which distinguishes pairs of complementary opposites within a process of dynamic transformation without committing itself to a binary, essentialist position as regards sex and gender. Daoism’s epistemological implications suggest a link to ecofeminism’s alignment with a situational and provisional model of knowledge. As a transformative philosophy, the cluster of concepts that give specificity to the Daoist notion of transformation offers content and direction for the notion of transformation central to many ecofeminist philosophies. These affinities offer possibilities for developing the relevance of both philosophies to bear upon a theoretical understanding of how we can live in a respectful and sustainable relationship with our natural environment.

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