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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 1, Issue 2, Fall 2004

Glen A. Mazis
Pages 46-61
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil2004125

Deep Ecology, the Reversibility of the Flesh of the World, and the Poetic Word
A Response to Arne Naess

This essay seeks to supplement Arnie Naess’s avowed project of replacing the often cited model of “humans and environment,” which retains a dualistic and anthropocentric connotation, with the articulation of a “relational total-field image” of human being’s insertion in the planetary field of energy and becoming. In response to the interview “Here I Stand” in which Naess rejects Merleau-Ponty’s ontology, this essay details the ways in which Merleau-Ponty provides the kind of ontology that Naess requires for his deep ecology. Naess’s use of Hindu terms and metaphysics is shown to be at odds with his descriptions of human’s relations with the world. Much of the essay critiques as well Naess’s rejection of poetic language as inadequate to the philosophical task of articulating the human-world intertwining. Using Merleau-Ponty’s work, the need for the poetic as uniquely articulating “the flesh of the world” and “reversibility” is described, hopefully showing that deep ecology’s goal of making people feel their insertion in the world’s field of becoming can only occur through inaugurating poetic uses of language.

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