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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-84315
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2017/8431/


EQUIVOCATIONS OF NATURE: NAESS, LATOUR, NĀGĀRJUNA

ÄQUIVOKATIONEN DER NATUR: NAESS, LATOUR, NĀGĀRJUNA

Cavazza, Elisa

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 Dokument 1.pdf (1.447 KB) 


Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Umweltphilosophie , Politische Ökologie , Śūnyatā , Bruno Latour , Arne Naess , Natur
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Environmental Philosophy , Political Ecology , Śūnyatā , Bruno Latour , Arne Naess , Nature
Basisklassifikation: 08.45 , 08.38 , 08.46 , 08.10
Institut: Philosophie und Geschichtswissenschaft
DDC-Sachgruppe: Philosophie
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Schramme, Thomas (Prof. Dr.) , Rovatti, Pier Aldo (Prof.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 18.06.2015
Erstellungsjahr: 2015
Publikationsdatum: 27.03.2017
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: This work revolves around some of the problems ecological thinking encounters when it questions humans’ relation with nature. It moves within a territory where ecophilosophy is intended not just to support managerial approaches to ecological problems, but to deal with the entanglement of ontological and ethical issues in regard to what nature is and how we see it, as well as who we are, humans in the ecological crisis. This inquiry, then, explores the meaning of the separation between the human and the natural realms, retrieves its origin in the natural/artificial axis and in the subject/object dichotomy, and considers our representations of nature and the structure of representation itself as a key ecological issue. A relational, entangled understanding of the human and the natural reality is then regarded as the key to interpret and face our current ecological situation.
Norwegian founder of deep ecology Arne Naess, Bruno Latour’s political ecology, and the founder of the Mādhyamika school of Mahāyāna Buddhism Nāgārjuna are the three central references that dialogue in this work. All three deal with a relational or radically relative reality, and the theoretical and practical consequences of it for some concepts of nature.
Naess’ work can be considered paradigmatic of much environmentalist sensitivity, in as much as his “ecosophy” attempts to give philosophical form to organicistic and interrelated images of the relation between humans and nature. Naess’ idea of “ecological self,” entertaining “intrinsic relations” with nature, deals with central ecophilosophical issues, stressing the continuity of nature and humanity in lieu of a man/nature dualism, and the counterpart issue of humanity’s peculiar place in nature. Nevertheless, an analysis of Naess’ relationism inevitably stumbles into the structure of representation itself in terms of a subject’s frontal gaze onto its object, making us wonder whether the proposed switch to a relational worldview is something that can actually overcome the humans/nature separation.
Indeed, Naess’s problems are more radical within ecophilosophy. Just as Latour notes, Naess does feel the limitations of modern metaphysics in the understanding of the ecological crisis, but the ecological crisis and our relation to nature are entangled with the status of objectivity, subjectivity and with a hidden “metaphysics of nature.”
The problems opened by relationism are intrinsic to the concept of nature, that the Western world has framed as other to humanity: everything that is not “artificial”. This original axis or separation underlies both managerial environmentalist approaches, and ecophilosophical attempts to bridge the dualistic gap. Ambiguities in terms of simultaneous continuity and difference, immanence and transcendence, belonging and extraneousness emerge when the nature/humanity axis is articulated. The humanity/nature fracture is most tragic in the political tension between ecological naturalistic references to a green nature beyond the social realm, and culturalist critiques associated with an anxiety for foundational and immediate natural dimensions.
According to Bruno Latour, the difficulties environmentalism faces when trying to secure its political influence emerge as equivocations caused by the a priori framework of nature as otherness to humanity. The nature/culture framework is only one of the possible ways to represent the common world of humans and nonhumans. Latour announces the “end of nature” as a political-ecological solution to the problem of representation. It is possible to reopen the political work of composition of the common world, bringing the sciences (both humanities and hard sciences) to give simultaneous scientific and political representation to phenomena such as climate change or species extinction, which are impossible to categorize as just human or just natural. In this radically relational world, ethics would be the continuous reopening of the constitution of our common world.
The second part of this work takes a leap from contemporary ecophilosophical reflection to ancient Indian Buddhism, which was initially triggered by the references Arne Naess makes to Nāgārjuna’s “emptiness of own-nature” in order to illustrate his relationism. Despite the opposing solutions to the problem of relationism and representation offered by Naess and Latour, the knot of subjectivity remains the hardest to unfasten, even though this unfastening appears to be a fundamental condition for dealing with ecological issues. Therefore, Nāgārjuna’s concept of emptiness [śūnyatā] will soon prove to be of rare assistance in powerfully addressing the tension between a radically relative reality and the attachment of the subject’s view to the “nature of things.”

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