Pathways to a New Environmental Ethic

Decentering the Human Subject

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About the Book

We are living through a time when the extinction of humanity itself looms on our generational horizon. While technological approaches to climate mitigation are admirable, our current ecological crisis results ultimately from an inherited, unexamined concept of selfhood, one standing in reciprocal relation to our misconceived view of nature. Regardless of our concept of nature—conservation, preservation, exploitation, or aesthetic/spiritual appreciation—the received idea that our self exists inside our skull engenders an unexamined assumption that nature is “out there,” with historically devastating results for us all.
This book explores three new ways of thinking about the interrelation of ourselves and “nature”: Merleau-Ponty’s notion of embodiment, the connection between enactivism and affordances, and object-oriented ontology. These approaches to selfhood reorder our moral obligations: what are our responsibilities to ourselves, our children, and nature itself? An embodied ethic based on empathy, one compatible with object-oriented ontology that incorporates panpsychism, and one derived from the social imaginary can provide an ethic that transcends supposed cultural biases and offers a new way of confronting climate change. To meet contemporary environmental challenges, we need to change our minds about our minds.

About the Author(s)

Steven E. Alford has taught literature, philosophy and film at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has published essays on Paul Auster, Lawrence Durrell, Gavin Maxwell, and Peter Ackroyd, as well as books and articles on European Romanticism, motorcycle culture, and film. He lives in Bend, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Steven E. Alford. Series Editor James M. Okapal
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: glossary, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9294-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5351-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Ethics and Culture