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August 21 , 2010

Bioregionalism and Global Ethics

A Transactional Approach to Achieving Ecological Sustainability, Social Justice, and Human Well-being


While a number of schools of environmental thought — including social ecology, ecofeminism, ecological Marxism, ecoanarchism, and bioregionalism — have attempted to link social issues to a concern for the environment, environmental ethics as an academic discipline has tended to focus more narrowly on ethics related either to changes in personal values or behavior, or to the various ways in which nature might be valued. What is lacking is a framework in which individual, social, and environmental concerns can be looked at not in isolation from each other, but rather in terms of their interrelationships. In this book, Evanoff aims to develop just such a philosophical framework — one in which ethical questions related to interactions between self, society, and nature can be discussed across disciplines and from a variety of different perspectives. The central problem his study investigates is the extent to which a dichotomized view of the relationship between nature and culture, perpetuated in ongoing debates over anthropocentric vs. ecocentric approaches to environmental ethics, might be overcome through the adoption of a transactional perspective, which offers a more dynamic and coevolutionary understanding of how humans interact with their natural environments. Unlike anthropocentric approaches to environmental ethics, which often privilege human concerns over ecological preservation, and some ecocentric approaches, which place more emphasis on preserving natural environments than on meeting human needs, a transactional approach attempts to create more symbiotic and less conflictual modes of interaction between human cultures and natural environments, which allow for the flourishing of both.

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