289 pages, no illustrations
Being Human examines the complex connections among conceptions of human nature, attitudes toward non-human nature, and ethics. Anna Peterson proposes an "ethical anthropology" that examines how ideas of nature and humanity are bound together in ways that shape the very foundations of cultures. Peterson discusses mainstream Western understandings of what it means to be human, as well as alternatives to these perspectives, and suggests that the construction of a compelling, coherent environmental ethics will revise our ideas not only about nature but also about what it means to be human.
[Being Human] is one of the few books that begins to integrate theological narratives with scientific ones, looking for a compelling correlation between them where modern and religious sensibilities might both be affirmed. - Bron Taylor, author of Ecological Resistance Movements "Being Human succeeds at accounting for people's conception of humanness and humans' relationship with nature - no easy task, but one that is a crucial starting point for any discussion of environmental ethics." - Kay Read, author of Time and Sacrifice in the Aztec Cosmos "Being Human is a stellar work of integration.... [Peterson] draws together cultural constructionist, Asian, Native American, feminist and evolutionary thought to present a view of the human as both an integral part of nature and a creator of culture." - Rosemary Radford Ruether, author of Gain and God"
Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. Not of the World: Human Exceptionalism in Western Tradition 3. The Social Construction of Nature and Human Nature 4. The Relational Self: Asian Views of Nature and Human Nature 5. Person and Nature in Native American Worldviews 6. Relationships, Stories, and Feminist Ethics 7. Evolution, Ecology, and Ethics 8. In and Of the World: Toward a Chastened Constructionist Anthropology 9. Different Natures Bibliography
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Anna L. Peterson is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Florida and author of Martyrdom and the Politics of Religion: Progressive Cathollcism in El Salvador's Civil War (1997) and Being Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Nature Ethics.