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Darwinian Humanism and the End of Nature

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Darwinian humanism proposes that environmental philosophers pursue their work in full recognition of an irreducible ambiguity at the heart of human experience: we may legitimately regard moral action as fully free and fully natural at the same time, since neither perspective can be taken as the whole truth. A serious objection to this proposal holds that freedom and nature may be unified as an organic whole, and their unity posited as a matter of substantive truth, by appeal to teleology. In particular, I consider Hegel's account of the emergence of Absolute Spirit, weigh its advantages and disadvantages as an approach to human moral experience and as a strategic move for environmentalists, and conclude with a refinement of Darwinian humanism and a clarification of its implications for environmental ethics.

Keywords: Darwin; Hegel; Kant; moral agency; phenomenology; teleology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-05-01

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 (2015) of 1.311.
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