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Wildness as a Critical Border Concept: Nietzsche and the Debate on Wilderness Restoration

Martin Drenthen

Environmental Values 14(2005): 317-337. doi: 10.3197/096327105774434459

How can environmental philosophy benefit from Friedrich Nietzsche's radical critique of morality? In this paper, it is argued that Nietzsche's account of nature provides us with a challenging diagnosis of the modern crisis in our relationship with nature. Moreover, his interpretation of wildness can elucidate our concern with the value of wilderness as a place of value beyond the sphere of human intervention. For Nietzsche, wild nature is a realm where moral valuations are out of order. In his work, however, we can discern a paradoxical moral concern with this wildness. Wildness is a critical moral concept that reminds us of the fact that our moral world of human meanings and goals ultimately rests on a much grander, all-encompassing natural world. Nietzsche's concept of wildness acknowledges the value of that which cannot be morally appropriated. Wild nature confronts us with the limits of human valuing. Wildness as a concept thus introduces the 'beyond' of culture into the cultural arena of values.


KEYWORDS: Nietzsche, wildness, environmental restoration, concepts of nature, environmental ethics, pluralism

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Ecological Restoration and Place Attachment: Emplacing Non-Places?.Martin Drenthen

Wilderness as the Place between Philosophy and Theology: Questioning Martin Drenthen on the Otherness of Nature. Forrest Clingerman

Comment on Martin Drenthen's Article, 'Ecological Restoration and Place Attachment: Emplacing Non-Places?'.Nicole Note

Landscapes Devoid of Meaning? A Reply to Note. Martin Drenthen

A Historical and Systematic Survey of European Perceptions of Wilderness. Thomas Kirchhoff and Vera Vicenzotti

Environmental Aesthetics and Rewilding. Jonathan Prior, Emily Brady


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