Philosophy Gone Wild: Environmental Ethics

By Holmes Rolston III | Go to book overview

If we may put it so, nature is a philosophical resource, as well as a scientific, recreational, aesthetic, or economic one. We are programmed to ask why, and the natural dialectic is the cradle of our spirituality. Humans are symbolic beings, which might be thought to divorce rational thought from the natural world, but the mind has for millenia evolved in association with nature, and we always interact with nature to discover and to create those symbols by which we understand. In metaphysics, we puzzle over whether it is best to conceive of nature as an organism, a jungle, an egg, a machine, or a mind-informing matter, models drawn from our experiences of nature and of its dynamisms and products. In religion, the fundamental themes of life and death are both natural givens. For some, the natural history is most fundamentally in suffering, but even they must ask whether it is not of more value for life to be tragic than for it not to be, or to be nothing. But others hope in some blessed, sacred point; and bread, water, wine, paths, fatherhood, motherhood, mountains, rivers, light, and darkness are not incidentally among our richest sacramental elements.

We cannot escape confrontation with nature; still, modern life can be lived at such remove from this naturalness that our wisdom is artificially led astray. The wilderness is as necessary as the university for our valuational education, and we can sometimes value snail darters sacramentally rather than economically, just because in their wildness they have a different sort of generating power from those machines that would exterminate them. The struggling life essence emerging overlaid on physical existence, the arrival of intelligence and whether it has any evolutionary point, the intellectual adventure in beholding the natural scene, the complementarity of spirit and matter--these remain puzzles never completely worked out, for we are always entering deeper waters than we can fathom. We can count that a disvalue; nature outgoes and disappoints us. We can even count it a value that nature breeds a creative discontent, keeps a distance from us, supplies a further question with each answer, and is so rich and demanding as to be at length inaccessible in the whole, knowable only in part. We are kept pilgrims and pioneers on a frontier, and to travel hopefully is better than to arrive. Meanwhile, this much as least we do value: that nature is endlessly stimulating to the mind, and bores only the ignorant or the insensitive.


NOTES

For critical discussion see Ernest Partridge, "Nature as a Moral Resource," Environmental Ethics 6( 1984):101-130.

1.
See the Endangered Species Technical Bulletin (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), May, June, July 1978, January, October, November 1979, May and September 1980.

-89-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Philosophy Gone Wild: Environmental Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • I. Ethics and Nature 11
  • 1: Is There an Ecological Ethic? 12
  • Notes 28
  • 2: Can and Ought We to Follow Nature? 30
  • 3: Philosophical Aspects of the Environment 53
  • 4: The River of Life 61
  • Ii. Values in Nature 73
  • 5: Values in Nature 74
  • Notes 89
  • 6: Are Values in Nature Subjective or Objective? 91
  • 7: Values Gone Wild 118
  • Iii. Environmental Philosophy in Practice 143
  • 8: Just Environmental Business 144
  • Introduction 144
  • References 177
  • 9: Valuing Wildlands 180
  • Iv. Nature in Experience 221
  • 11: Lake Solitude 223
  • 12: Meditation at the Precambrian Contact 233
  • 13: Farewell, Washington County 241
  • 14: Nature and Human Emotions 248
  • Subject Index 263
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 274

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.