Is the Concept of Nature Dispensable?

The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5 (25):59-63 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In response to the arguments of Bill McKibben and of Stephen Vogel that nature is at an end and that the very concept of nature should be discarded, I argue that, far from this being the case, the concept of nature is indispensable. A third sense of 'nature' besides the two distinguished by Vogel, that of the nature of an organism, is brought to attention and shown, through five arguments, to be indispensable for environmental philosophy and ethics, and for ethics in general (veterinary and medical ethics included). But it is no coincidence that the same term is used for all three senses of'nature' in many languages. The indispensability of 'nature' in the third sense is used to suggest the indispensability of 'nature' in the second sense (things unaffected by human activity, a sense needed if we are to understand species whether wild or domesticated, because of their evolutionary history, and if we are to distinguish social systems from natural systems), and also of 'nature' in the first sense (things that are not supernatural, a sense needed if we are to ask metaphysical questions about whether 'nature' in this sense and in the other two might have a creator)



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,869

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Can and ought we to follow nature?Iii Holmes Rolston - 1979 - Environmental Ethics 1 (1):7-30.
The concept of nature and historicism in Marx.Wenxi Zhang - 2006 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 1 (4):630-642.
Environmental philosophy after the end of nature.Steven Vogel - 2002 - Environmental Ethics 24 (1):23-39.
Appreciating nature on its own terms.Yuriko Saito - 1998 - Environmental Ethics 20 (2):135-149.
Toward a practical philosophy of nature.Klaus M. Meyer-Abich - 1979 - Environmental Ethics 1 (4):293-308.
The nature of artifacts.Steven Vogel - 2003 - Environmental Ethics 25 (2):149-168.
The finitude of nature: Rethinking the ethics of biotechnology.Helen A. Fielding - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (3):327-334.
Human Nature in a Post-essentialist World.Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):983-993.


Added to PP

78 (#161,190)

6 months
2 (#325,240)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Robin Attfield
Cardiff University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references