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Environmental Values

Nature (and Politics)

Andrew Dobson

Environmental Values 17(2008): 285-301. doi: 10.3197/096327108X303891

ABSTRACT

This paper addresses the leitmotif of Alan Holland's work, which is argued here to be a defence of the existence and worth of nonhuman nature. Definitions of politics have always depended on the idea of nature as a contrasting non-political realm, usually turning on the centrality of speech. Referencing the work of Aristotle, Kant and Bentham, I suggest that the instability of the distinction between the human and the nonhuman means that politics, as 'thing and activity', must itself be unstable. The question of whether there can be a politics without nature is explored through an analysis of the work of Latour, and the conclusion is reached that listening may well be just as important as speaking.


KEYWORDS

Nature, democracy, communication, Aristotle, Bentham, Kant, Latour

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

The Silence of Nature. Steven Vogel


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