Environmental Ethics

Volume 12, Issue 3, Fall 1990

John S. Dryzek
Pages 195-210

Green Reason
Communicative Ethics for the Biosphere

Exclusively instrumental notions of rationality not only reinforce attitudes conducive to the destruction of the natural world, but also undermine attempts to construct environmental ethics that involve more harmonious relationships between humans and nature. Deep ecologists and other ecological critics of instrumental rationality generally prefer some kind of spiritual orientation to nature. In this paper I argue against both instrumental rationalists and ecological spiritualists in favor of a communicative rationality which encompasses the natural world. I draw upon both critical theory and recent scientific intimations of agency in nature.

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