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Wildness as a Critical Border Concept: Nietzsche and the Debate on Wilderness Restoration

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Abstract:

How can environmental philosophy benefit from Friedrich Nietzsche's radical critique of morality? In this paper, it is argued that Nietzsche's account of nature provides us with a challenging diagnosis of the modern crisis in our relationship with nature. Moreover, his interpretation of wildness can elucidate our concern with the value of wilderness as a place of value beyond the sphere of human intervention. For Nietzsche, wild nature is a realm where moral valuations are out of order. In his work, however, we can discern a paradoxical moral concern with this wildness. Wildness is a critical moral concept that reminds us of the fact that our moral world of human meanings and goals ultimately rests on a much grander, all-encompassing natural world. Nietzsche's concept of wildness acknowledges the value of that which cannot be morally appropriated. Wild nature confronts us with the limits of human valuing. Wildness as a concept thus introduces the 'beyond' of culture into the cultural arena of values.

Keywords: Nietzsche; concepts of nature; environmental ethics; environmental restoration; pluralism; wildness

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327105774434459

Publication date: August 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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