What is the best way to approach our environmental problems? Or what kind of environmental ethics or philosophy is best suited to address and possibly solve some of the most serious environmental problems of our time? These questions have been discussed several times over the last decades and various alternative answers have been proposed for how to deal with contemporary environmental problems. One influential approach in the early 1970s was deep ecology, launched by Arne Naess in his article «The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary» (1973). Deep ecology or the deep ecological movement was for a long time a dominant theme in environmental philosophy and it has given rise to numerous articles, books and conferences. Deep ecology flourished in the 1970-80s, but its standing today is severely diminished. Why has deep ecology lost its standing as a leading environmental philosophy and movement? In this paper, I discuss some of the reasons why I think deep ecology has such a limited appeal today. I will argue that the flaw of deep ecology lies in its adherence to ontology rather than ethics. Supporters of deep ecology, such as Naess himself, have tended to attach great importance to our experience of reality as a source of environmental attitudes. But I believe that this focus on environmental ontology has been a recipe for disaster rather than a success for deep ecology and its supporters. I suggest that a proper environmental position should be based on critical thinking and moral principles rather than on ontological assumptions about human experiences of the world.
In Sein und Zeit Martin Heidegger claims that Dasein’s relation to its own death is an ontological condition for understanding itself as a temporal, finite being, while the experience of the death of another is seen as an «ontic», or empirical, phenomenon which cannot contribute to an understanding of the meaning of death. In other words: the relation to my own death is ontologically primary to the experience of the death of another person. It is my hypothesis that Heidegger’s motive for privileging my own death over the death of another is his conviction that a fundamental ontological analysis must analyze its phenomenon as being one and whole: only in relation to its own death – in its anticipation of the end of being – can Dasein be seen as being whole. According to Heidegger, Dasein can face its own death only by undoing its relations to other Daseins, in other words: in total isolation. In this article, I make the argument that death is an essential cultural, or intersubjective, phenomenon and that the meaning of death – and thus of man’s temporality and finitude – can only be learned by living together with other people. As a consequence of this argument the other’s death gains a fundamentally different significance to what it has in Heidegger’s analyses.
In this article, I defend the possibility of understanding the resurrection of Jesus as an event within the framework of natural laws. In this way, the resurrection is not necessarily contrary to Natural Science or belief in the existence of Natural laws. I offer, at the same time, a critique of one of David Hume's arguments against the belief in miracles.
The renowned postmodernist philosopher Michel Foucault has had considerable influence in many fields, including the social sciences and, to a certain extent, also in history. In this article, the author discusses two ideal-typical modes of reading Foucault, based primarily on the book which made Foucault famous: Les mots et les choses (1966), translated into English under the title The Order of Things (1970).
On the one hand, there is a widespread tendency to read Foucault’s work as a postmodernist tour de force, with its radical analysis of how the human sciences are prisoners of language, rendering the ambition of historical reconstruction illusory. At the same time, somewhat paradoxically, Foucault has been hailed for his epoch-making reinterpretation of modern European history, with special focus on discontinuities in the episteme of Western culture.
On the other hand, there is a reading of Foucault which is fundamentally critical to the way in which he selects his source material, and to how he treats the sources thus selected. One additional dimension in this reading draws attention to the exotic language often used by Foucault, sometimes bordering on inaccessibility or even incomprehensibility.
The author finds the reasons given for this latter reading convincing, and concludes that Foucault’s treatment of historical sources makes him unreliable as a historian. However, he can also be seen as an interesting example of a peculiar type of author, a composer of fiction seemingly supported by footnotes.