The Ecological Self
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The environmental philosophy that has grown from the ecological movement has often been accused of providing no rational arguments for the holistic concepts it embraces. This is the first book to consider the metaphysical foundations of ecological ethics. The author seeks to provide a metaphysical support for the basic institutions of the "one-ness" and the interconnectedness of everything, the fundamental principles of the ecological movement.
The Ecological Self considers and rejects the dominant atomistic metaphysics associated with the classical physics of Newton. By drawing upon modern physics and the cosmology of Einstein, the systems theory of Gregory Bateson and others, and the philosophy of Spinoza, Freya Mathews is able to elaborate a new metaphysics of "interconnectedness."
its rigid, deductive, and inflexible concepts, and of the private self-interest, the irresponsible competition, the rugged individualism of that earlier commercial age.46 To this I would add that our culture is progressively becoming aware of the invalidity of the cosmological presuppositions of its way of life, and is increasingly manifesting symptoms of cosmological uncertainty: anxiety and insecurity, alienation, anomie and a massive confusion over values. Newtonianism cut us adrift into the
Watt governor8 to the sophisticated electronic mechanisms of advanced servo-engineering. Such systems may be designed for many different purposes, and the purpose one assigns to a particular system may depend on one’s own interests and purposes. For example, from a motorist’s point of view, the purpose of a governor in an automobile engine is to limit speed; but from the point of view of the automobile-parts manufacturer, the governor may also be regarded as a device for wearing out metal. There
indeed a fact that the whale is functionally adapted to krill, so that krill and only krill will meet its need for food, and that the krill population is functionally adapted to whales, so that whales and only whales can ‘cull’ that population in the manner required for its perpetuation, then it can be said that the identities of whale and krill are ecologically interconnected— mutually logically constitutive of each other. It is a fact about the ‘web of life’ that in general the ecological
in for example, becoming rich and famous, being a star or a celebrity. We are rather to understand it in a physical, emotional and spiritual sense, involving freedom from disease and chronic physical and psychological tensions. It may be thought of as consisting in a state of inner harmony and integration of the personality, which is expressed in a positive and creative attitude to life’s challenges. To achieve such a state of flourishing is the built-in goal of any self, and if it has to destroy
Aristotelian view. The components of the mechanistic view included the mathematical methodology developed by Kepler and the atomism of the ancients, Democritus and Lucretius—where this entailed the view that there is a distinction to be made between properties which really inhere in objects, such as figure, size, motion, and properties which only appear to observers to do so, being the product of perception, or more accurately, of the action of objects on the perceptual organs. Of these Galileo