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Environmental Values

Unprojected Value, Unfathomed Caves and Unspent Nature: Reply to an Editorial

Robin Attfield

Environmental Values 14(2005): 513-518. doi: 10.3197/096327105774462656

This article replies to Alan Holland's challenge to reconcile belief in non-anthropogenic intrinsic value with the poetry of John Clare and its projection onto nature of human feelings, and thus with projective humanism. However, in literature and broadcasts, feelings are found projected upon buildings and belongings as well as upon natural creatures. This and the fact that many living creatures (such as the Northamptonshire species not remarked by Clare) never become objects of human projections but still remain valuable suggests that the basis of natural value lies elsewhere, at least in part. Such themes, together with that of nature's independent value, are variously illustrated from poems of Gray, Cowper and Marvell, and from expressions of nature's otherness in the Christian verse of Hopkins (who also helps answer Holland's further question concerning 'what we have lost'), and in the pantheistic (or pagan) prose of Grahame's Wind in the Willows. In none of these writers does the value of nature depend on the projection of a humanistic sensitivity, but in different ways on the nature (diversely conceptualised) of natural creatures themselves.


KEYWORDS: Humanistic projections, non-anthropogenic value, intrinsic value, undiscovered species, nature's significance

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Editorial. Alan Holland

Postmodernism, Value and Objectivity Robin Attfield

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial. Emily Brady

Finding - and Failing to Find - Meaning in Nature. Simon P. James


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