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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 33, Issue 2, 2023
Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-15 of 15 documents

1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Charles Brown Editorial: Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
J. Baird Callicott The Topos of Mu and the Predicative Self
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Terminologically, the “topos of mu” and the “predicative self” originated in the Kyoto School and are traceable to the work of its founder NISHIDA Kitarō. The full phrase was coined by NAKAMURA Yūjirō. Conceptually, the topos of mu or place of nothingness is Nishida’s development of the Buddhist notion of anatta or no self and radiating out from that locus of emptiness is a self constituted by its predicates or the things to which it is connected by an existential copula. Deeply ingrained in Western languages, metaphysics, and religion is the subjective self, in both the linguistic and psychological senses of “subjective.” That Buddhism, as reworked by the Kyota School, or Daoism, or any other non-Western tradition of thought, will catch on in the West was a puerile fantasy of some members of the first generation of environmental philosophers. There is a good chance, however, that the Western worldview may evolve toward a similar conception of the self—as ecological, relational, or systems thinking becomes ever more ingrained. We in the West may come to understand that we are constituted by our social and environmental relationships, in which we are deeply embedded and on which we are utterly dependent, such that world care is the essence of self-help.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Piotr Skubała, Magdalena Ochwat On the Role of Symbiotic Thinking in the Age of the Anthropocene
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The human influence on the earth’s ecosystem has become so destructive that we need a new vision of the world that will offer hope. The article is an attempt to create a new interdisciplinary way that takes into account the role of symbiosis in the functioning of life on Earth. Australian scholar Glenn Albrecht postulates the conceptual framework for the new epoch and calls it the Symbiocene. which will be characterized by replicating symbiotic life processes in human activities. At the same time, science clearly states that the relationships among organisms are predominantly cooperative and symbiotic in nature. The article focuses on three selected phenomena in which close multilateral cooperation plays a significant role. These are: the life of lichens, the functioning of mycelium with plants, especially the role of Mother Trees over young stands, and permaculture as an example of symbiotic agriculture. We take these examples as a training in collective imagination in good interspecies living and draw on selected literary texts. We believe that the idea of the Symbiocene, an inclusive and integrative philosophy of life, has great potential to become a new direction not only in the natural sciences, but also in the social sciences and humanities.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Chantal Noa Forbes (S)Animism, Relational Ontology, and Transspecies Becoming
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In this article, I suggest that the challenge of the Anthropocene is an ontological challenge arising from modern humans’ abstraction from our environment, rooted in the substance ontology of Euro-Cartesian metaphysics. By comparative philosophical analysis of the cosmological foundations of the San Bushmen’s ontology in southern Africa, this article suggests that being rooted in hunter-gatherer metaphysics is a key component of our species' ability to symbiotically adapt by fostering the relational practice of ontological ambiguity, fluidity, and mutability that facilitates a process of transspecies becoming. Through both animistic and European philosophical perspectives, I suggest that the posthumanist practice of becoming by process of ontological flux reinforces an Earth-centered epistemology that can assist postmodern humans in transitioning from an ontological impasse that has resulted in environmental fragmentation to a relational ontology that re-establishes an ecological web of transspecies kinship.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Lorena Valeria Stuparu The World as a Hospitable Space: A Possible Dialogue between the Philosophy of Religion and Environmental Philosophy
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In this study I intend to prove that there is a close connection between ethical purposes of Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy and the idea of sacred nature as part of the “world” in a phenomenological sense, which includes sacred space as defined in the philosophy of religion. The main points that intersect here are: the idea of sacred space; the perception of virtue in a sacred world; the beauty of creation: nature, life, human sensibility. The theoretical background of this study contains points of view that express phenomenological, hermeneutic, theological, and aesthetic conceptions belonging to authors and exegetes such as Mircea Eliade, William E. Paden, David Cave, Ion Ianoși, Douglas Allen, Arnold Berleant, and Vincent Blok. I believe that the neglect of the environment-as-a-condition-of-life (the consequences of which can already be seen in ecological imbalances) is caused by, among other factors, the desacralization of human attitudes towards nature and the world of life. Few people still have a feeling of sacred nature or the aesthetic emotion of perceiving beauty in natural forms. The relationship with the environment and nature is reduced to its exploitation as a source of economic profit or as a way for spending free time, a source of personal comfort devoid of any spiritual significance. Surely we cannot go back to archaic religions or medieval Christianity, but we can reintegrate into our moral values something of those cultures’ admiration and respect for the beauty/sublimity of nature and the world as expressions of divine creation, as something sacred. Philosophical debates related to this retrieval and their dissemination could be part of solving the ecological problems of the contemporary world.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Mykhailo Beilin, Iryna Soina, Olena Horbenko, Oleksandr Zheltoborodov Ontology of Natural Landscapes and Human Global Environmental Consciousness
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The problem raised in the article is actualized not by the artificial attachment of the topic of ecology to the existential problems of humankind, but by the urgent need to conceptualize the dangers of a growing gap between the further development of civilization and ignoring the primary nature of its existence, the analysis of modern specific dangers of wildlife, flora and fauna, catastrophic climatic phenomena, desertification, and chemical pollution of the land. The posed problem of the conceptualization of wild nature logically continues the intention of the authors to turn to the human-dimensional characteristics of the entire natural environment. At the level of socio-philosophical analysis, the meaning of a new model of relations between society and nature is revealed, and alternative concepts of nature protection to modern practices are comprehended. The importance of wildlife in its narrowed (terrestrial) space for social development on the established ideological principles of the most careful attitudes to wildlife, taking into account the reverse dangerous impact of the destructible habitat on humanity, has been proved.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Marta Dixa, Krzysztof Łastowski Searching for Principles of Sustainable Development
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Implementing sustainable development is one of the essential tasks in the current human activity in managing our planet's natural resources. It is a challenge not only for ecology, demography, anthropology and philosophy but also turns out to be a challenge for other disciplines supporting research on the nature of the human species and its changes. The practical implementation of this idea assumes a detailed knowledge of the factors determining the development of civilisation, as well as the factors that disturb this development. In this article, we present arguments that, through modelling, illustrate the historical regularities of the development of the human race, starting from the Neolithic Age through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and early Middle Ages (models 2–5), to the contemporary image of civilisation development (model 6). These arguments show that in the past, the history of civilisation was fundamentally influenced by three factors: biological, social and cultural. However, in the modern era, an important fourth factor emerges, which is the cognitive factor. Moreover, the historical approach to development (models 2–5) fits into the so-called Malthusian pattern of development, which follows an exponential curve (models 2–5). In contrast, the development of modern civilisation (model 6) follows the Volterra pattern, which is modelled on a logarithmic curve. We hypothesise that the transition from the Malthusian to the Volterra pattern took place precisely due to a new development factor—the cognitive factor. The increase in its rank in the history of civilisation development is presented using a four-factor model. We present the characteristics of this factor and place it in our model, showing how it will fundamentally determine the optimisation of the principles of sustainable civilisation development. In the conclusion of the given argumentation, we emphasise the need to promote various forms of education as the primary tool of humanity in pursuit of sustainable development.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Rangga Kala Mahaswa, Hardiyanti Romanticizing the Past, Glorifying the Future: Working with Ecological Modernization and Developmentalism
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Development is a consistent element in the implementation of Indonesian policies. However, it has become increasingly challenging, particularly following the decline of the New Order regime and Indonesia’s rejection of certain political practices associated with it. This paper aims to present a reflective analysis of the evolving nature of development, from its initiation under the New Order regime to the present post-Reformation era, and how nationalist development navigates the intricate cultural landscape in Indonesia as well as exploring the possibility of the idea of ecological modernization being an alternative to the obsolete New Order development model.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Elmira Fakhrudinova, Zhanna Konovalova The Impact of Natural Disasters on Intercultural Dialogue and Its Reflection in Dave Egger’s Zeitoun
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The paper addresses the issue of intercultural dialogue and its importance for ecological humanism and how this problem is reflected in American literary nonfiction at the beginning of the 21st century (as exemplified by nonfiction novel Zeitoun by Dave Eggers). The authors of the article come to the conclusion that the successful resolution of modern socio-ecological crises requires practical humanism and the actualization of the principles of ecological philosophy. The most important component of the dialogue among cultures at all levels is the moral component, since it is mutual recognition and respect for norms, customs, traditions, ideals, eternal moral values that are the basis for the mutual enrichment of cultures, as well as the socio-political, environmental and economic stability of society as a whole. The book Zeitoun by Eggers demonstrates the importance of intercultural dialogue especially in situations in which entire nations face global ecological disaster.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Earnest N. Bracey Politics, Racism, and Environmental (In)justice in the United States
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Fairness has long been denied for African-Americans and other people of color when it comes to environmental injustices, or crimes committed by state governments and polluting industries/corporations. Unfortunately, polluting companies often go unpunished for their environmental misdeeds, particularly if what they do is in minority or marginalized communities. Furthermore, environmental biases in American courts, unfortunately, are still prevalent in our society today—that is, when it comes to vulnerable groups, who continue to seek environmental justice, but cannot fight back. Environmental injustice, therefore, should be considered unjust acts when it comes to polluting communities of color. Also, environmental issues are always problematic, especially in regard to climate change. In a certain sense, there is an urgent need to protect these disadvantaged communities of color from polluting corporations. Indeed, can we end this environmental cruelty? More importantly, how can we stop polluters from burying hazardous material in landfills on lands owned by Indigenous people or Native Americans? Polluting industries must also be put on notice, and we must question anyone in the energy business who is deceptive about their nasty pollution. It should be obvious that nothing will change anytime soon regarding the environmental injustice issue if we do not get involved and fight the polluters head-on, and without reservation.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Maraizu Elechi Ecogynism as Unspoken Dialogue between Humans and Nature
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The possibility of dialogue between human beings and nature has been a subject of controversy with fundamental interpretations and reinterpretations among philosophers. Some have argued that the idea of human–nature dialogue is ill-informed, absurd and misleading because humans and non-humans lack the capacity for mutual linguistic understanding and reciprocity. This paper argues otherwise, by appropriating Marie Pauline Eboh’s concept of “Ecogynism as Unspoken Dialogue” to analytically show the dialogical possibility between human beings and nature. Ecogynism is considered as an approach and method towards the consideration of a new form of dialogue with a view to achieving friendly and harmonious synthesis of existence, and proffering solutions to natural disasters and issues relating to environmental sustainability. However, the form of dialogue accentuated in this article is not akin to conversation or discussion that requires an exchange of views, but an unspoken dialogue that is based on meta-epistemic and existential modes of communication, sensibility, and interaction, to reveal the natural interrelatedness and mutuality of all existents and supplant the dominance of androcentrism.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Dilipkumar Mohanta Buddhist Environmental Ethics: Two Methodological Models
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There is no greater threat today to the security of life on this earth than environmental degradation covering all aspects of Nature—plants, animals and human. It is imperative to take interest in a future which lies beyond the boundary of our short-sighted outlook and self-interests. Non-western and indigenous cultural approaches to environmental issues are relevant today. Following Buddhist Ethics we can extend love, compassion, and non-violence in practice and limit our greed, and also we can take interest in protecting the right to happiness of future generations. In the light of the ethical teachings contained in the texts of Buddhism, I propose two different methodological models, namely the “Honey-Bee Model” and “Mother-Child Model,” for addressing an ideal relation between humans and Nature. The Buddhist approach to environmental issues is based on the law of Dependent Origination and the theory of Not-Self or Relational Self. I shall also argue that Buddha’s teaching integrates all aspects of the ecosphere—individuals and general species—in terms of mutual interdependence, which in a sense an attempt to institutionalize care and welfare ethics beyond the human domain to also reach the animal and plant worlds. This paper is an attempt to address current ecological problems from the moral perspective of Buddhism.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Oluwatobi David Esan, Solomon Kolawole Awe The Yoruba Concept of the Okun Omo Iya as a Critique of Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” and the Quest for Environmental Sustainability
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This paper attempts to critique the existential philosophy of Martin Buber’s theory of the “I-Thou” using the Yoruba concept of okun omo iya. The need for the realization of a sustainable environment has been a point of focus for researchers, scholars, and government policy makers. The reason for this realization is not far-fetched. According to a record from World Health Organisation (WHO), one-quarter of all deaths worldwide are attributed to over-exploitation and reckless usage of the environment. This undoubtedly has caused several human-induced disasters such as floods. The reckless usage and abuse of the environment is predicated on the domineering tendency of humans towards the environment. Martin Buber, in his existentialist philosophy, argues that humans should treat their relations as “I-Thou” (as subjects) and not as “I-It” (as objects). It follows that humans must be considerate in relating with each other such that fellow humans should not be treated as a means to an end, rather as ends in themselves. Simply put, fellow humans should not be seen as objects that others can either control, dominate, or subdue. However, Buber’s existentialist philosophy is human-centered, as it excludes the non-human entities and as well, failed to explain the relationship that should exist between humans and non-human entities. Hence, the Yoruba concept of okun omo iya will be used as a paradigm to remodel and re-configure the existentialist philosophy of Buber in a way that is environmentally inclusive.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Wang Hai-qin The Role of the Glance in Overcoming the Disunity of Knowledge and Practice in Environmental Philosophy
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Statistics show, that even though an ethical respect for nature is both widely advocated by current mainstream environmental philosophy and is increasingly publicly accepted, this is not enough to ensure the needed practical actions to protect and preserve the natural world and its living beings. This reflects a disconnection between the related intellectual or theoretical appreciation of the integrity or value within the natural world and the sorts of practices needed to heal or to motivate the actions needed for ecological integrity and sustainability. Awareness of this disunity or disconnection calls for a philosophical examination of this disconnection. This paper argues that the disunity between knowledge and practice reflects a “blind spot” in those sorts of mainstream environmental philosophy that attempt to establish a rational basis for an ethical respect for nature and humans’ ethical responsibility to the environment. This paper shall reveal that blind spot and its origin by examining and building on Ed Casey’s analysis and phenomenological description of an original and authentic directly lived ethical response to the environment that he calls the “first moment of ethical response.” Casey’s description of this “first moment of ethical response,” rooted in his phenomenological horizon, allows him to break away from the horizon of current mainstream environmental ethics and uncover a field of original and authentic ethical experience that opens an area of investigation closed to current environmental ethics. In this way Casey’s work can reveal the limitations of the scientific horizon of mainstream environmental ethics and has great value in the overcoming of the blind spot and its ill effect.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 33 > Issue: 2
Charles Brown Leopold, Husserl, Darwin and the Possibility of Intercultural Dialogue
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J. Baird Callicott et al. have argued that Aldo Leopold developed a descriptive technique that has something in common with phenomenology and that it would not be farfetched to explore A Sand County Almanac as a kind of Heideggerian clearing in which usually unnoticed beings come to light. They further suggest that Leopold describes animal others as fellow subjects who co-constitute the world and that through his method of observation, description, and reflection Leopold reveals a “multi-perspective experience of a common environment” that discloses an inter-species intersubjectivity comparable to Husserl’s more formal descriptions of intersubjectivity. I shall argue that the similarities between Husserl and Leopold are stronger and deeper than Callicott et al. suggest. Husserl’s method is designed to expose what has been hidden by “ideological positivism,” while Leopold’s method is designed to reveal what has been concealed by what he labels “conventional physics. Both agree that what we might today call a “scientistic worldview” denies, devalues, and dismisses subjectivity, meaning, and value from rational discourse. In Husserl’s view this leads to cultural crisis and barbarism, while in Leopold’s view it leads to ecological catastrophe. For Husserl the only alternative is a cultural renewal rooted in a rethinking of the dominant scientistic worldview while for Leopold the alternative lies in the construction of a new ethical system. These two alternatives are deeply compatible. Finally, I will discuss the ways in which Husserl’s understanding of the intentionality of our subjective experiences and Leopold’s integration of the evolutionary and ecological kinship of humans and non-humans with the social sciences have important implications for the possibility of intercultural understanding and dialogue and thereby allow us to overcome the thesis of incommensurability that denies the possibility of meaningful intercultural understanding and dialogue.