Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason (Environmental Philosophies)
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In this much-needed account of what has gone wrong in our thinking about the environment, Val Plumwood digs at the roots of environmental degradation. She argues that we need to see nature as an end itself, rather than an instrument to get what we want. Using a range of examples, Plumwood presents a radically new picture of how our culture must change to accommodate nature.
Economic Man, establishes the blueprint for ‘rational’ human activity by maximising his own interests and gains at the expense of others. In the economic rationalist imaginary of the machine, rational efficiency means a mean, lean, tough machine, shorn of compassion and of anything not instrumental to a self-maximising end, the victory of well-oiled economic clockwork in ordering the chaotic, messy sphere of social need and human desire. Largely because of this ability to play on the gendered and
ecologically destructive activities as opposed to introducing ameliorative modifications which allow major damage to persist while also ‘giving something’ to ecological action groups. 7 These modifications sometimes represent worthwhile ecological gains in limited areas but rarely halt the overall progress of ecological damage. However, a further major set of reasons for liberal capitalism’s failures of ecological rationality derive from the structural features that generate both inequality and
position as they are in these other kinds of negotiations and contracts, such as the labour contract, and other kinds of speech contexts such as the liberal public sphere and the courts. The appearance of a solution here depends upon the liberal-rationalist assumption that such panels will successfully bracket or set aside as irrelevant social inequality. Third, they leave unexplained how the negotiation model will overcome the acute problems for the marginalised of silencing and political
totally enclosed in our own interests. And thus, once more, ‘cosmic’ anthropocentrism is unmasked as the product of a family of arguments which rely on shifts and ambiguities like these to demonstrate some version of philosophical egocentrism, where the crucial equivocations between locatedness and restriction of ethical concern to the self often lie buried in the concept of ‘selfish interest’. In fact, it is no more necessary for humans to be human-centred that it is for males to be
forms of alienation involved in the human workplace and the animal gulag. To the extent that Babe helps us reimagine the animal as potential familiar rather than as pet or as meat, it offers us a glimpse of an overgrown but still discernible path which could begin our journey towards a non-oppressive form of the mixed community and a liveable future respectfully shared with animals. 8 Towards a dialogical interspecies ethics Decentring human-centred ethics The logic of Othering suggests that