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)

Suffering and Intervention

The topic of interventionism in nature for one reason or another has been a long-standing subject of debate for a very long time in environmental ethics and political discussions. To this day that are those that view intervention as a dichotomy, that one must either be for all intervention or against all intervention on principle. The reality of course is that there are many cases of intervention in nature going very wrong, such as the introduction of cane toads in northern Australian, or the eradication of Wolves in large areas of north America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Both acts that are horrific examples of human hubris when it comes to the management of nature. (kepp 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)

On the Subject of Predation

Predation is a subject that has caused considerable debate within the environmental and animal rights communities for several decades. The answer is simple enough on face value, predatory relationships are not only perfectly normal in wild nature but that it has numerous ecological benefits in most areas where predation is common. But where the conversation gets murky is when we start to consider the role humans play here. For many of us the answer is simple, predatory behaviour is nature, humans are natural beings and therefore it is perfectly nature for humans to engage in this behaviour. (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)

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)

A Cognitive Approach to Natural Aesthetic Experiences

One might consider however, that such a view must be directed in some way. Left to their own devices there would be no guarantee that those experiencing nature on its own terms, nor that they would see nature as it really is from a scientific perspective. Rolston III (1998) provides some insight here where he says in reference to the aesthetics of forests, though it easily applies to all natural aesthetics, “One must be moved, but one needs to be moved in the right direction, where "right" means with appropriate appreciation of what is actually going on.” –where “right” simply means towards an appropriate appreciation of nature on its own terms. (keep reading)