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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Darwinian Humanism and the End of Nature

Robert Kirkman

Environmental Values 18 (2009): 217-236. doi: 10.3197/096327109X438071


Darwinian humanism proposes that environmental philosophers pursue their work in full recognition of an irreducible ambiguity at the heart of human experience: we may legitimately regard moral action as fully free and fully natural at the same time, since neither perspective can be taken as the whole truth. A serious objection to this proposal holds that freedom and nature may be unified as an organic whole, and their unity posited as a matter of substantive truth, by appeal to teleology. In particular, I consider Hegel's account of the emergence of Absolute Spirit, weigh its advantages and disadvantages as an approach to human moral experience and as a strategic move for environmentalists, and conclude with a refinement of Darwinian humanism and a clarification of its implications for environmental ethics.


Moral agency, teleology, phenomenology, Kant, Hegel, Darwin

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Dominating Nature. Jason Brennan

Darwinian Humanism: A Proposal for Environmental Philosophy. Robert Kirkman

'The World Must be Romanticised ...': The (Environmental) Ethical Implications of Schelling's Organic Worldview.Elaine P. Miller

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Darwin and the Meaning in Life. Alan Holland

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