Struggle for Nature: A Critique of Radical Ecology

Struggle for Nature: A Critique of Radical Ecology

Struggle for Nature: A Critique of Radical Ecology

Struggle for Nature: A Critique of Radical Ecology


The Struggle for Nature outlines and examines the main aspects of current environmental philosophy including deep ecology, social and political ecology, eco-feminism and eco-anarchism. It criticises the dependency on science of these philosophies and the social problems engendered by them. The author argues for a post-naturalistic turn in environmental philosophy. The Struggle for Nature presents the most up-to-date arguments in environmental philosophy, which will be valuable reading for students of applied philosophy, environmental studies and geography.


The pure light of truth can be seen by us only in variously broken rays.

(Dilthey, 1931:VIII, p. 222)

Environmental philosophy is a young discipline that has swiftly gained international academic status. This success is undoubtedly in large part due to the rapid growth of a strong consensus among the most prominent environmental philosophers on the basic tenets of the discipline, a consensus which has enabled them to close ranks and unite into a single front. the other side of this coin is a certain degree of dogmatism and a certain amount of intolerance of dissident voices. in spite of variations in emphasis, the various 'canonical' texts of environmental philosophy display a sufficient number of common characteristics to allow one to speak of a single family. This family is a direct descendant of radical ecology, which originated primarily in America. Within radical ecology it is possible to distinguish four broad currents that can be found, in some configuration or other, in the work of nearly all environmental philosophers: Arne Naess' deep ecology, in which the current environmental crisis is attributed to modern man's anthropocentrism; Murray Bookchin's social ecology, which ascribes our hostile behaviour towards nature to the existence of hierarchical relationships among human beings; Ivan Illich's political ecology, which follows René Girard in holding man's mimetic desire responsible for the degradation of the environment; and ecofeminism, which points to androcentrism rather than anthropocentrism as the main culprit.

In recent years, radical ecology has put down firm roots outside the alma mater as well. It supplies ideological ammunition to pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Earth First!, to influential associations like the Sierra Club and to a variety of 'green' political

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