Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 24, Issue 48, November 2016

Thinking Nature Today II

Sue Spaid
Pages 73-87

The Kinship Model
Why Biodiverse Cities Matter

Until Speculative Realism’s arrival a few years back, few philosophers found it problematic to view nature as a cultural construct, circumscribed and dependent on human attitudes (Berleant, 1992: 53). While I share speculative realists’ goal to strengthen philosophy’s mind-independence (Immanuel Kant’s goal as well), I worry that isolating nature as beyond human minds not only absolves human responsibility, but eradicates “kinship” relations, which capture non-hu­man nature providing for and sustaining human beings, and vice versa. To develop an environmental philosophy that affords mind-independence and offers evidence, unlike Positive Aesthetics, which idealizes wilderness, I discuss: 1) the pro/cons of nature’s mind-independence, 2) the implications for aspection, 3) the need for assessment tools that guide human action, 4) the reasons for grounding ethical action in kinship, and 5) recent research that suggests biodiverse cities exemplify the kinship model. Inseparable from nature, human beings are kindred participants in shared eco-systems.