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Gratitude and Alterity in Environmental Virtue Ethics

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Rachel Carson begins her revolutionary book Silent Spring with a quote from E.B. White that reads 'we would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively'. While White's advice can account for an instrumental relationship towards nature, I believe that the more important relationship offered in his recommendation is one of appreciation or gratitude. But how are we to understand gratitude as appreciating Nature non-instrumentally when it has traditionally always been understood as a response to a benefit received? My motivation is to modify our traditional conception of gratitude alongside Simon Hailwood's account of the 'Otherness of Nature' to see how we can truly show gratitude for Nature rather than simply reflecting on how Nature serves human interests.
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Keywords: Environmental virtue ethics; Hannah Arendt; Simon Hailwood; gratitude; otherness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2020

This article was made available online on July 4, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Gratitude and Alterity in Environmental Virtue Ethics".

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 a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 1.933. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.493.
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