Environmental Philosophy

Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2008

Wendy Lynn Lee
Pages 9-22

Environmental Pragmatism Revisited
Human-Centeredness, Language, and the Future of Aesthetic Experience

Environmental pragmatism is rightly described as “cynical” if good reasons exist to worry its advocates would endorse oppressive measures to achieve its goals. Given the history of human chauvinism, moreover, this worry is not far-fetched. It is, however, misguided: conflation not-withstanding, human chauvinism and human-centeredness (anthropocentrism) are not the same thing. “Chauvinism” describes an objectionable but alterable course of human history; anthropocentrism is an indigenous feature of the experiential conditions of Homo sapiens from which no particular course of human history necessarily follows. Properly understood, I argue, human-centeredness is an ally in the quest for environmental responsibility—not its foe.