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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 2, Fall 2011

Pierluigi Barrotta
Pages 95-113

James Lovelock, Gaia Theory, and the Rejection of Fact/Value Dualism

In this paper the relationship between Gaia theory and fact/value dualism must be understood from two angles: I shall use Gaia as a case study to show the philosophical limits of dualism, and I shall also use the discussion of fact/value dualism to clarify the contents of Gaia theory. My basic thesis is that Lovelock is right when rejecting the suggestion that he should clear his theory of evaluative considerations. He is right because in his theory facts and moral values are strictly interwoven and therefore cannot be conceptually separated. I shall show this point by arguing that if we dropped the evaluative components from Gaia theory we would not have the same theory cleared of those evaluative components. Instead we would have a theory with a different empirical meaning and different explanatory characteristics.

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