Disclosive discourse, ecology, and technology

Environmental Ethics 16 (1):89-102 (1994)
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Abstract

Currently, much hope for the protection of nature is pinned on the science of ecology. Without suggesting that we should pay less serious attention to science, I argue for a more pluralistic approach to the environmental and technological problems facing our time. I maintain that when ecology changes attitudes and ways of life, it does so by importing a language of engagement with nature rather than by remaining confined to a strictly scientific account. This language of engagement, which shows how nature and natural things can be engaged by humans in a multiplicity of ways, I call disclosive discourse. Disclosive discourse, however, is not used exclusively by ecologists and other scientists. To the contrary, the great literary writers exemplify in their writings the ways this discourse can present nature and natural things in their most profound and powerful appeal. Moreover, disclosive discourse is not limited to words: artworks, too, are disclosive. By characterizing the deeper problem with which we are faced differently, as fundamentally technological rather than environmental, a more diversified plurality of alternatives to technology, not limited to those having to do with primarily nature, can be brought into relief and encouraged

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