Volume 34, Issue 4, Winter 2012
South American Environmental Philosophy
Amós Nascimento, James Jackson Griffith
Environmental Philosophy in Brazil
Roots, Intellectual Culprits, and New Directions
Brazil has a long history of environmental problems, but philosophy seems to lag behind other disciplines that actively consider this history. Nonetheless, there is a sufficiently rich intellectual tradition to allow a genuine environmental philosophy to emerge. Based on a detailed overview of discussions pertaining to environmental reflection and activism in Brazil, three fields of tension in recent Brazilian environmental history—military developmentalism versus militant environmental activism, anthropocentric realism versus ecocentric utopia, and sustainable development versus strong sustainability—presuppose philosophical positions and represent three corresponding “intellectual culprits” that need to be addressed. Among emerging trends in environmental philosophy, two avenues of thought can be highlighted as promising for dispersing these “culprits”: ethnocultural pluralism and global environmental responsibility.