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What role can philosophers play in helping to resolve the moral and political dilemmas faced by environmental activists and policymakers? Moving away from environmental philosophy's usual focus on abstractions such as nonanthropocentrism and the intrinsic value of nature, Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice focuses on environmental practice as the starting point for theoretical reflection. Philosophical thinking, it argues, need not be divided into the academic and the practical. Philosophy can take a more publicly engaged approach.
The authors combine a deep understanding of the environmental ethics literature with a sympathetic sociological and political examination of environmental activists and their reasoning. Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice is divided into three parts: Political Theory and Environmental Practice, Philosophical Tools for Environmental Practice, and Rethinking Philosophy through Environmental Practice. Case studies are included from Canada, Denmark, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Topics range from the specific, such as fox hunting and leaded gasoline, to the more general, such as biodiversity in India, biomedical ethics, and crop biotechnology.
"This study gathers classical and contemporary sources into a sweeping examination of the role of politics and political theory in shaping conceptions of nature – and vice versa. Meyer achieves a balanced analysis of the strongest aspects of long-opposed philosophical approaches to the idea of nature [...] This balanced and brilliant collection bridges environmental philosophy and environmental practice to the betterment of both."
– Mark Sagoff, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland
Avner de-Shalit is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Associate Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Environment, Ethics, and Society, Mansfield College, Oxford University.