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Deep Ecology is stupid

Deep Ecology is stupid - A Review of Various Criticisms of...

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A Review of Various Criticisms of Deep Ecology The term Deep Ecology was first formulated by Arne Naess in his 1973 article “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements.” In short, Deep Ecology seeks to remove the dualism associated with the ideas of nature and mankind and rather present the idea of the self as what Bill Devall calls “an inseparable aspect of the whole system wherein there are no sharp breaks between the self and the other” (Devall 65). Deep Ecologists, as Naess and George Sessions demonstrate in their first “basic principle”, attribute inherent worth to the everything in and of the biosphere: “The well being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent worth). These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes” (Naess 264). I will attempt in the following pages to review three criticisms of the philosophical and ecological movement known as Deep Ecology . I. The Concepts of a Truly Anthropocentric View and of Intrinsic Value Eric Katz, in his essay Against the Inevitability of Anthropocentrism, underlines three core concepts of Deep Ecology: identification, Self-realization, and a holistic ontology. Katz notes that these core concepts came primarily from Naess and his Ecosophy T, his own personal version of Deep Ecology. Self-realization may initially be a misleading term. The idea of Self (note the capital S) is not used in the “narrow, individualistic sense.” It instead is the embracement of all life on the planet. Again, life may be a misleading term; here it is used to term essentially the entire biosphere, everything from Mt. Everest to the smallest
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bacterium to the polar ice caps to professor John Lachs. Naess lays out the maximization of the Self in the layman’s terms of maximum universal symbiosis. Naess notes that this is neither intended to be an individualistic form of self nor an interpretation intended to eliminate individuality in the favor of the collectivity. Naess interprets this to mean additionally a maximization of diversity and concludes thus that “‘Altruism’ is a natural consequence of this identification’” (Naess 272). Identification is the formation in the moral agent of some kind of “empathy, understanding or commonality with the other individuals, entities, and systems in the environment” (Katz 26). Naess states that the Self-realization leads to this identification: “…we increasingly see ourselves in other beings and others see themselves in us. In this way, the self is extended and deepened as a natural process of the realization of its potentialities in others” (Naess 272). The holistic metaphysics of Deep Ecology are characterized by Naess as the “rejection of the man-in-environment image in favor of the relational total-field image (Katz 28). The individual unit of consideration in moral decisions is the entire biosphere. The concept derives from the idea that as Self-realization occurs; all moral agents will shift to an ecocentric (as opposed to anthropocentric) view of morality.
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