Environmental Ontology

The idea that humans have no right to interfere with nature for any reason is not a new one by any means for Deep Ecological thought. It was and still is a pervasive thought among environmentalists whose belief is that that more for the natural environment by doing nothing given our poor track record for large scale intervention. Deep Ecology has held tightly to this principle since the early stages of the movement tying it very closing to Naess (1973, p96) who argues that an appropriate relationship with nature is “relational” adding that each life-form has “the equal right to live and blossom”. (keep reading)

Deep Ecology – The Mislabeling of an Ontology

For nearly four decades Deep Ecology has featured prominently in Environmental Ethics as one of the key players in the movement to raise environmental consciousness and change the way people behave. But it has unfortunately been maligned as “just another holistic ecology” which seeks to make radical changes in the way humans and human culture interact with the natural environment. It has been tarred as being closely aligned with the non-anthropocentric ethics of nature which opened it to a series of “broadsides” from Murray Bookchin (1988) in the late 1980's which left the movement intellectually crippled. But the attacks launched by Bookchin center on holistic ethics and non-anthropocentrism of which Deep Ecology as it was originally conceived cites neither as being doctrinal to Deep Ecological thought (Naess 1973). (keep reading)

The “Native” Question

No doubt each of us is familiar with the concept of native plants and animals. Nativism is by no means a new concept, but it is one that is often supported by fallacies and pseudoscience. It is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in conservation policy. The problem is that the foundational values on which nativism rests is not clearly outlined in everyday thought because it is not a subject that is easily communicated since the value of native animals and plants has become so distorted through scientific understanding of ecology, the political and social perception of the “threat” of exotic species, and finally perhaps the most underappreciated source of value but perhaps mostly important to our appreciation of the concept of nativism which can be found in our rejection of the homogenisation of planetary ecology and the formation of mono-cultures resulting from invasive species. (keep reading)

Understanding How to Reshape Our Worldview (Part 2)

Aesthetics and aesthetic judgments are a source of significant contention in philosophy and each thinker on this topic has their own view on the meaning of the term. As such we will take things back to a basic formulation which is largely non-contentious. For our purposes here, the term is much more broadly encompassing going beyond any school of aesthetic thought and are instead zooming out and looking beyond art and nature into the realm of perception itself. In general, aesthetics in this context refers to the relationship between the person perceiving and the object being perceived, referring specifically to how we view the world around us. (keep reading)

Understanding How to Reshape Our Worldview (Part 1)

When considering Natural Aesthetics, one must at some point consider precisely what is meant not only by the term itself but also the meaning of each of its composite terms. A part of this means that we must understand each term on its own and how it interacts with and helps to shape our worldview. The term world view is meant as a as term that broadly speaking encompasses the sum of our understanding and perception of the world around us. The values, beliefs and traditions we each hold both feeds into and shapes the way we look at the world around us, and our experience of the world in turns feed back into our worldview allowing us to adjust and appreciate new knowledge, new modes of perception and new understandings. (keep reading)

Turning the Lens on Ourselves

It is clear in natural aesthetics that our senses move us in our world view and our perspectives, but in what direction must be guided in some sense towards the reality of nature. With this understanding and with respect to nature, it is so important for many authors such as Carlson (1891) and Rolston (2002) for this experience to be positioned within a scientific lens and scientific appreciation. But not all experiences are going to be pleasant in nature and therefore aesthetics differs so distinctly from our hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, indeed at times it can induce experiences of terror, disgust and ugliness (Brady 1998). (keep reading)