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Phenomenology 2010

Volume 5, Issue Part 2, 2010

Selected Essays from North America Part 2

W. S. K. Cameron
Pages 41-66

Socrates Outside Athens
Plato, the Phadrus, and the Possibility of “Dialogue” with Nature

Environmental ethics has long struggled with a dilemma: many mistrust as “anthropocentric” our judgments about the values of non-human nature, but it is unclear how we could make, let alone justify, “biocentric” judgments; and recent worries that the world is linguistically constituted only exacerbate the threat of skepticism. Happily, Plato’s Phaedrus gives some indication of how a “dialogue” with nature might proceed. But since Plato’s confidence in the forms is likely irrecoverable, I turn to Gadamer for an account of the language-world relation that allows us to concede the world’s linguistic constitution while still acknowledging the possibility of nature’s dialogue with us.

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