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contents
1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Scott Cameron, Kenneth Maly, Ingrid Leman Stefanovic EDITORIAL PREFACE
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2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Sean Williams Chiasmic Wildness
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Whether one’s attention lies with the big wilderness outside or the wild people and places that survive amidst our ecologically impoverished cities and towns, a thorough and rigorous reflection on wildness remains as a task for environmental philosophy. The political and literary movements concerned with the wilderness have sparked passion, insight, and moments of brilliance, but by and large leave us today at best confused, and at worst naïve, with respect to our thinking of wildness. The attempts at philosophical rigor from the ‘fields’ of so-called ‘environmental philosophy’ or ‘environmental ethics’ certainly bring one nofurther toward understanding the experiences of, say, 500 miles of tundra, or the power and push of a river, or the density of a rainforest, or a kiss. Keeping the illumination of direct experience in mind, this paper will attempt a phenomenology of wildness, using the work of 20th century French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of chiasm describes a perceptual relationship of intertwining, of intimacy and opacity, between Self and Other, in which the Other’s presence guides one’s own perceptions. Reflection around this chiasmic exchange may help us to understand the peculiar perceptual experience with what we call the wild, and perhaps to understand it as a sort of chiasmic wildness. This chiasmic wildness would not be incarcerated in wilderness areas or wild animals, but would exist in our embodied relationships with other people, animals, plants, and places. This paper is offered as an attempt at reflection, as what Martin Heidegger called a Holzweg: wandering down a path that may lead nowhere, but that must be followed beyond where one stands today.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Lawrence Cahoone Our Recent Rousseau: On Paul Shepard
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Paul Shepard, a Rousseau armed with modern evolutionary ecology, presents our most rational primitivism. In his work, ecology recapitulates mythology. His critique of civilization compares to 20th century critics of “alienation,” except for Shepard the break with “authentic” existence is not Modern industrialism but Neolithic agrarianism. His argument remains largely impractical. Yet his late work suggests a reasonable meliorism. He recognized that his “Techno-Cynegeticism” may find room in a postmodern society that is hostile to agro-industrial, but not to what Ernest Gellner called “Durkheimian” or pre-agrarian,social forms. Hope for the wild lies not in razing the modern “system” but in riddling it with restored wild lacunae. Or, paraphrasing Thoreau, the salvation of the world lies in the feral.
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Florence R. Shepard Commentary on “Our Recent Rousseau”: “On Paul Shepard”
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In the “Commentary” on “Our Recent Rousseau: on Paul Shepard,” the author praises Lawrence Cahoone’s comprehensive and critical analysis of Shepard’s interdisciplinary scholarship in the field of human ecology, in particular, his theories of the wild and hunting and the contributions of archaic cultures to civilization. The author then elaborates further on the importance of the Paul Shepard’s unifying ideas of evolution, ontogeny, and neoteny to the understanding of the psychohistory of human development.
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
David Wood On the Way to Econstruction
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Environmentalism finds itself facing problems and aporiae which deconstruction helps us address. But equally, environmental concerns can embolden deconstruction to embrace a strategic materialism – the essential interruptibility of every idealization. Moreover, deconstruction’s critique of presence opens us to the strange temporalities of environmentalism: needing to act before we have proof, and for the benefit of future humans. The history of the earth is a singular sequence, ideographic – concrete, not rule governed, and not to be repeated. French ‘anti-humanism’ is not eco-fascism, but precisely adapted to our current situation, where the privilege of the human as a well-meaning but toxic terrestrial, is questioned. I argue for the renewed privilege of the human if the new human embodies a proper respect for otherness and for difference. Why not extend Derrida’s democracy-to-come to the (imaginary) parliament of the living? Derrida agreed that environmental destruction needed to be on any short list of the plagues of the new world order. Deconstruction as econstruction helps us address some of the complexities it throws up.
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Stephen B. Scharper Liberation Theology’s Critique of the Developmentalist Worldview: Implications for Religious Environmental Engagement
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As the world’s religious communities become more involved in environmental concerns, the question arises as to whether their most significant contributions are in the realm of worldviews, doctrine, and cosmology, or rather in the realm of political and economic critique and an articulation of social justice concerns arising from ecological despoliation. After reviewing liberation theology’s early critique of economic developmentalism, as well as its more recent treatment of ecological concerns, this paper suggests that liberation theology is in fact positing a cosmological as well as political and economic critique of modernity, which proffers conduits of dialogue with other environmental approaches.
7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Adam Briggle, Robert Frodeman, J. Britt Holbrook Introducing a Policy Turn in Environmental Philosophy
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This essay inaugurates a commitment to devote a small part of Environmental Philosophy to reflection on how environmental philosophers can better engage scientists and decisionmakers already involved in their own conversation about the environment. Philosophers generally have not made the question of how to make philosophy a relevant or useful part of their philosophical research. By way of introduction, we begin to articulate a theoretical framework for how we might integrate the humanities, philosophy in general, and environmental philosophy in particular with issues of public policy via a practical engagement of scholars across the humanities in a conversation that simultaneously invites non-academics within and takes us beyond the walls of academe.
books
8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
William Edelglass Animal Philosophy: Ethics and Identity
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9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Michael P. Nelson, Craig G. Buttke The Death of Our Planet’s Species: A Challenge to Ecology and Ethics
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report on books
10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Joshua Mason Report on Books and Articles
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