Environmental Philosophy

Volume 9, Issue 2, Fall 2012

Keith Peterson
Pages 1-19

Ecosystem Services, Nonhuman Agencies, and Diffuse Dependence

This paper is a preliminary treatment of the categories of agency and dependence in the context of ecosystem services discourse. These categories are discussed in terms of critical categorial ontology in order to articulate adequately the nature of humankind’s dependence upon the nonhuman natural world, inadequately captured by ecosystem services discourse. Following Val Plumwood, this essay takes ecosystems services discourse as an example of one type of failure to discern various forms of agency as well as dependence, and it goes on to define diffuse dependence as the relation that corresponds to the form of agency expressed through ecosystem services.