The Very Idea of an Ecological Worldview

Ethics and the Environment 26 (1):21-55 (2021)
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Abstract

Abstract:In environmental philosophy, it has often been argued that adopting a new ecological worldview is necessary in order to generate environmentalist social change in response to ecological crisis. I introduce the analytical category of metascientific stance (tacit assumptions about the nature, practices, goals, and place of the sciences in society) in order to discuss the popular model of worldview clash in this article and contrast it with other models of science-environmentalism relation. I argue that its frequent combination with an epistemological holism, often implying antirealism, is entirely at odds with an environmental philosophy that recognizes the real asymmetrical dependence of humankind on the nonhuman. Moreover, it assumes a questionable metaethical relation between worldview and action. I examine three essential tensions in the worldview clash model for environmentalism and argue that because the very idea of a worldview has deep roots in Modernist dualism and anthropocentrism, it is a fundamentally flawed way of framing environmentalist action.

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