Raises doubts about the speculative tendencies of environmental thought that have been elaborated in recent environmental movements, such as environmental ethics, deep ecology, social ecology, post modern ecology, eco feminism, and environmental pragmatism. Kirkman takes issue with the central tenets of speculative environmentalism - that the natural world is fundamentally relational, that humans have a moral obligation to protect the order of nature, and that understanding the relationship between nature and humankind holds the key to solving the environmental crisis.
In this small book, Kirkman (Michigan State Univ.) struggles to reconcilehis philosophical skepticism with his environmental ideals. Unlike manyenvironmental philosophy books, which are not easily accessible to lay people, thisone is. It is engagingly written, and the philosophical arguments are laid outclearly and crisply. Kirkman addresses the basic question, Can philosophicalunderstanding of the natural world contribute in a practical way to the public'sdiscourse about environmental issues? He claims that it can and must. Part 1, Knowledge, consists of two chapters: The Nature of Nature and Organism andMechanism. Part 2, Obligation, has two chapters as well: A Place on Earth and TheMoral Compass. The final part 3, Hope, contains a single chapter, Environmentalismwithout Illusions. Kirkman's coverage of philosophies that bear on environmentalismis necessarily brief and to the point. The bibliography contains more than 170pertinent citations, including references to recent and clas
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