Volume 13, Issue 2, 2010
Caring for Nature in Habermas, Vogel, and Derrida
Reconciling the Speaking and Nonspeaking Worlds at the Cost of “Re-enchantment”?
En rapport with Jürgen Habermas, this paper argues for an environmental ethics that formalistically links the “good-for-nature” to the communicatively conceived “good-for-humanity.” This orientation guards against the possibility of humanity’s “knowledge-constitutive interest” in the instrumentalization of the environment being pressed forth as a project of limitless domination and mastery. Such an ethics is nonetheless well supplemented with Axel Honneth’s idea of an “indirect” recognitional attitude toward the world of objects, which accommodates the impulse of “care” for nature without succumbing to the aporias of a naturalistic ethic. The essay contends that the categorical resources needed to avert the slide toward naturalism are dissolved in the antifoundationalist “critiques of nature” advanced by Steven Vogel and Jacques Derrida.