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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999

Ethics

Holmes Rolston, III
Pages 151-158

Nature and Culture In Environmental Ethics

The pivotal claim in environmental ethics is that humans in their cultures are out of sustainable relationships to the natural environments comprising the landscapes on which these cultures are superimposed. But bringing such culture into more intelligent relationships with the natural world requires not so much “naturalizing culture” as discriminating recognition of the radical differences between nature and culture, on the basis of which a dialectical ethic of complementarity may be possible. How far nature can and ought be managed and be transformed into humanized nature, resulting in “the end of nature,” is a provocative question. Environmental ethics ought also to seek nature as an end in itself.

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