Environmental Values 14 (3):317-337 (2005)

Martin Drenthen
Radboud University Nijmegen
How can environmental philosophy benefit from Friedrich Nietzsche's radical critique of morality? In this paper, it is argued that Nietzsche's account of nature provides us with a challenging diagnosis of the modern crisis in our relationship with nature. Moreover, his interpretation of wildness can elucidate our concern with the value of wilderness as a place of value beyond the sphere of human intervention. For Nietzsche, wild nature is a realm where moral valuations are out of order. In his work, however, we can discern a paradoxical moral concern with this wildness. Wildness is a critical moral concept that reminds us of the fact that our moral world of human meanings and goals ultimately rests on a much grander, all-encompassing natural world. Nietzsche's concept of wildness acknowledges the value of that which cannot be morally appropriated. Wild nature confronts us with the limits of human valuing. Wildness as a concept thus introduces the 'beyond' of culture into the cultural arena of values.
Keywords Friedrich Nietzsche  ecological restoration  wilderness
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DOI 10.3197/096327105774434459
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