The Turn from Reactive to Responsive Environmentalism: The Wilderness Debate, Relational Metaphors, and the Eco-Phenomenology of Response

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A shift is occurring in environmentalism to a post-metaphysical understanding of the human relationship to nature. Stemming from developments within the wilderness debate, ecofeminism, and eco-phenomenology, the old dichotomy between John Muir's tradition of privileging nature and Gifford Pinchot's tradition of privileging society is giving way to a relational paradigm that privileges neither. The starting point for this involves articulating the ontology of relationship anew. Insofar as the dominant metaphors of nature and their complimentary narratives present a choice between the agency of the human or the natural worlds, they encourage one-sided or "reactive" relationships to the world. By contrast, ... continued below

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Christion, Timothy C. December 2009.

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This thesis is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 502 times , with 5 in the last month . More information about this thesis can be viewed below.

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  • Christion, Timothy C.

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A shift is occurring in environmentalism to a post-metaphysical understanding of the human relationship to nature. Stemming from developments within the wilderness debate, ecofeminism, and eco-phenomenology, the old dichotomy between John Muir's tradition of privileging nature and Gifford Pinchot's tradition of privileging society is giving way to a relational paradigm that privileges neither. The starting point for this involves articulating the ontology of relationship anew. Insofar as the dominant metaphors of nature and their complimentary narratives present a choice between the agency of the human or the natural worlds, they encourage one-sided or "reactive" relationships to the world. By contrast, developments sensitive to the mutual agency between them encourage "responsive" relationships. The relational metaphors of "partnership" (Merchant) and "dialogue" (Plumwood) are prominent examples. The idea of "nonhuman agency," however, is counter-intuitive and problematic. The works of Buber, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty suggest a model of "mutual response" rather than "mutual agency."

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  • December 2009

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  • March 17, 2010, 11:40 a.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2013, 12:11 p.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Christion, Timothy C. The Turn from Reactive to Responsive Environmentalism: The Wilderness Debate, Relational Metaphors, and the Eco-Phenomenology of Response, thesis, December 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12096/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .