The volume documents, and makes an original contribution to, an astonishing period in twentieth-century philosophy—the progress of Arne Naess's ecophilosophy from its inception to the present. It includes Naess's most crucial polemics with leading thinkers, drawn from sources as diverse as scholarly articles, correspondence, TV interviews and unpublished exchanges. The book testifies to the skeptical and self-correcting aspects of Naess's vision, which has deepened and broadened to include third world and feminist perspectives. Philosophical Dialogues is an essential addition to the (...) literature on environmental philosophy. (shrink)
I offer a feminist critique of deep ecology as presented in the seminal papers of Naess and Devall. I outline the fundamental premises involved and analyze their internal coherence. Not only are there problems on logical grounds, but the tacit methodological approach of the two papers are inconsistent with the deep ecologists’ own substantive comments. I discuss these shortcomings in terms of a broader feminist critique of patriarchal culture and point out some practical and theoretical contributions which eco-feminism can make (...) to a genuinely deep ecology problematic. (shrink)
I discuss conceptual confusions shared by deep ecologists over such questions as gender, essentialism, normative dualism, and eco-centrism. I conclude that deep ecologists have failed to grasp both the epistemological challenge offered by ecofeminism and the practical labor involved in bringing about social change. While convergencies between deep ecology and ecofeminism promise to be fruitful, these are celebrated in false consciousness, unless remedial work is done.
ESSENCES VERSUS REFLEXIVITY According to Rosemary Ruether, women throughout history have not been particularly concerned to create transcendent, overarching, all-powerful entities, or like classical Greek Platonism and its leisured misogynist mood, with projecting a pristine world of abstract essences. 15 Women’s spirituality has focused on the immanent and intricate ties among nature, body, and personal intuition. The revival of the goddess, for example, is a celebration of these material bonds. Ecofeminist pleas that men, formed under patriarchal relations, look inside themselves (...) first before constructing new cosmologies have been dismissed, for example, by Fox, in “The Deep Ecology: Ecofeminism Debate and its Parallels,” as a recipe for inward-looking possessive parochialism and, hence, ultimately war!16 But that would surely only be the case if deep ecologists failed to shrug off their conditioning as white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-professional property holders, which they assure us, they are very keen to do. Interestingly, the universalizing, cosmopolitan stance of this particular protest by Fox is somewhat at loggerheads with the deep ecologists’ own professed commitment to bioregionalism. In the name of “theoretical adequacy,” Fox’s article disregards history. Consequently, his prose blurs who has done what to whom, over the centuries and on into the present. To quote: [Certain] classes of social actors have... habitually assumed themselves to be more fully human than others, such as women (“the weaker vessel”), the “lower” classes, blacks, and non-Westerners (“savages,” “primitives,” “heathens”).... That anthropocentrism has served as the most fundamental kind of legitimation employed by whatever powerful class of social actors one wishes to focus on can also be seen by considering the fundamental kind of legitimation that has habitually been employed with regard to large-scale or high-cost social enterprises such as war, scientific and technological development, or environmental exploitation. Such enterprises have habitually been undertaken not simply in the name of men, capitalists, whites or Westerners, for example, but in the name of God (and thus our essential humanity... ).... (This applies, notwithstanding the often sexist expression of these sentiments in terms of “man,” “mankind,” and so on, and not withstanding the fact that certain classes of social actors benefit disproportionately from these. (shrink)