Eco-philosophy is "ecological" in the broadest sense: it sees humanity as one with nature, as an integral part of the process of evolution which carries the universe onward from matter to life, to consciousness, and ultimately to divine. The central concept of eco-philosophy is "The World as Sanctuary". This is offered as an alternative to the Newtonian/Cartesian vision of "World as a Machine". This new worldview emphasizes the unique, precious, and sacred nature of our planet. All other principles of eco-philosophy follow from this one. The five key tenets of eco-philosophy are:
1) The world is a sanctuary.
2) Reverence for life is our guiding value.
3) Frugality is a precondition for inner happiness.
4) Spirituality and rationality do not exclude each other, but complement each other. 5) In order to heal the planet, we must heal ourselves.
Eco-philosophy arose in response to the failings of both the mechanistic worldview and the impotent linguistic/analytic philosophy that came from it. These failings are evident in our violent and selfish attitudes toward fellow humans, and in our widespread abuse of the environment. Eco-philosophy is philosophy as it should be -- meaningful, relevant, and participatory. It is not the stuff of dusty library books, but rather a thoughtful, contemporary approach to understanding the world, and ourselves. the aim of ecophilosophy is ecosophy or ecological wisdom. The Practice of ecophilosophy is an ongoing, comprehensive, deep inquiry into values, the nature of the world and the self. The mission of ecophilosophy is to explore a diversity of perspectives on human-Nature contexts and interrelationships. It fosters deeper and more harmonious relationships between place, self, community and the natural world. This aim is furthered by comparing the diversity of ecosophies from which people support the platform principles of the global, long range, deep ecology movement. Here is Arne Naess’s original definition of ecosophy: “By an ecosophy I mean a philosophy of ecological harmony or equilibrium. A philosophy as a kind of sofia (or) wisdom, is openly normative, it contains both norms, rules, postulates, value priority announcements and hypotheses concerning the state of affairs in our universe. Wisdom is policy wisdom, prescription, not only scientific description and prediction. The details of an ecosophy will show many variations due to significant differences concerning not only the ‘facts’ of pollution, resources, population, etc. but also value priorities.” (See A. Drengson and Y. Inoue, 1995, page 8.) The aim of ecophilosophy is a total or comprehensive view of our human and individual situation. Comprehensive includes the whole global context with us in it, sharing a world with diverse cultures and beings. We move toward a total view via deep questioning--always asking why--to ultimate norms and premises, and via articulation (or application) to policies and practices. Much cross cultural work is done at the level of platform principles, and we can have a high level of agreement at this level that Naess calls Level II. From Level II we can engage in deep questioning and pursue articulating our own ecosophy, which might be grounded in some major worldview or religion, such as Pantheism or Christianity. This level of ultimate philosophies is called Level I. There is considerable diversity at this level. From Level II principles we can develop specific policy recommendations and formulations, or Level III. From Level III application leads us to practical actions, Level IV. There is considerable diversity at the level of policies, but even more at the level of practical actions. Table Showing Levels of Questioning and Articulation
| Ultimate Premises
| Taoism, Christianity, Ecosophy T, etc.
| Level II
| Platform Principles Movement
| Peace Movement, Deep Ecology Movement, Social Justice Movement, etc.
| Level III
| A, B,...
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