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Environmental Values

Thinking from Within the Calyx of Nature

Freya Mathews

Environmental Values 17(2008): 41-65. doi: 10.3197/096327108X271941


Is philosophy an appropriate means for inducing the 'moral point of view' with respect to nature? The moral point of view involves a feeling for the inner reality of others, a feeling which, it is argued, is induced more by processes of synergistic interaction than by the kind of rational deliberation that classically constituted philosophy. But how are we to engage synergistically with other-than-human life forms and systems? While synergy with animals presents no in-principle difficulty, synergy with larger life systems takes us into epistemological realms explored only in the margins of the Western tradition, such as in Goethe's Romantic alternative to science. These 'alternative' epistemological realms are however the very province of the Daoist arts of China, and these arts accordingly furnish us with practices conducive to a moral consciousness of nature.


Conativity, environmental education, Daoism, Goethe, synergy

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

The Silence of Nature. Steven Vogel

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Ronald Hepburn and the humanising of Environmental Aesthetics. Isis Brook

Conservation of Adaptive Self-Construction: A Flux-Centred Solution to the Paradox of Nature Preservation. Matthew F. Child

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