Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology

Article excerpt

Review: Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology By Eric Katz, Andrew Light and David Rothenberg (Eds.) Reviewed by Barbara L. Wagner Denver, Colorado, USA Katz, Eric, Andrew Light, & David Rothenberg (Eds.). Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000. 328 pp. ISBN 0-262-61149-X (paper). US$65.00. Alk. paper

Deep ecology evokes deep thoughts in readers, whether ecologists, environmentalists, or adherents of earth religions. This anthology treats this philosophy of the "deep green theory" as one of several eco-philosophies (or ecosophies), one that may apply in different vocations and fields. It includes essays not primarily from this movement's advocates.

Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess coined the term "deep ecology" in 1972 to describe a philosophical movement based on earth-centric values. In the 1984 "Platform of Deep Ecology," Naess and George Sessions describe the basic premises as a belief in the intrinsic value of non-human nature, a belief that ecological principles should dictate human actions and moral evaluations, an emphasis on non-interference in natural processes, and a critique of materialism and technology.

All three editors are professors of philosophy: Eric Katz and David Rothenberg at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Andrew Light at the State University of New York, Binghamton. A broad overview, detailed analysis, and rigorous assessment of deep ecology's strengths and weaknesses were the editors' goals. A bibliography supplements readings cited in notes at the end of each essay.

The editors are primarily concerned with deep ecology's philosophical position concerning ontology, the fundamental nature of things. "For us, deep ecology is a philosophy about the nature of the world and the human place in this world, or the human relation to the world ... part of it or apart from it. It ... focuses on the fundamental ontological interrelatedness and identification of all life forms, natural objects, and ecosystems" (p. …

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