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Environmental Values

Exploring African Holism with Respect to the Environment

Kevin Behrens

Environmental Values 19 (2010): 465-484. doi: 10.3197/096327110X531561


Contrary to a pervasive presumption of anthropocentricism in African thought, I identify an emphasis on the interrelatedness or interconnectedness of everything in nature, and argue that this is best construed as a rejection of anthropocentrism, and as something similar in conception to, and yet distinct from, holist perspectives. I propose that this strand of African thought, suitably reconstructed, should be construed as providing the basis for a promising non-anthropocentric African environmentalism. I name this position 'African Relational Environmentalism', and suggest that it is what distinguishes this position from holism that can most enrich environmental ethics.


African environmentalism; holism; non-anthropocentricism; harmonious relationships

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Goodwill Toward Nature. Christopher Freiman

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Lessons Learned. Katie McShane

Ubuntu and Ecofeminism: Value-Building with African and Womanist Voices. Inge Konik

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