The Emergent Environment and the Problem of Cosmic Purpose

Environmental Ethics 8 (2):139-150 (1986)
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Abstract

Gur general vision of the world will undoubtedly affect our environmental ethics. Scientific materialism is the “general vision” that undergirds many scholarly and popular presentations of science today. It is questionable whether this materialist metaphysics can consistently sustain an environmental concern. If scientists influenced by the materialistic outlook, nonetheless, happen to be environmentalists, itis in spite of and not because of their materialist philosophies of nature. What we need, therefore, is a cosmological vision that is nlore consistently supportive of an environmental ethic. Religious visions are often ambiguous in their attitude toward the natural environment. Alfred North Whitehead and his followers weave modem science, philosophical sophistication and religious cosmology into a metaphysical vision fully and consistently supportive of a vigorous environmental ethic.

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