Correction: The published abstract has been replaced with a corrected version Oct 28th, 2016.
This paper argues that we should understand and assess the philosophical contributions by Arne Næss and Hans Skjervheim, and not least their interactions, by identifying the ways they both develop their views in opposition to what they see as the dominant views of the Vieranna Circle. The most striking thing, it is argued, is that neither of them develop new and striking criticisms of the Circle, and that there are in fact interesting similarities in their criticisms. It is also fair to say that Næss’s later criticism of the doctrines of the Circle is less interesting than his earlier criticism. His early interesting criticism was on the other hand, shared by other members of the Circle, and not really original with him. Shortcomings of the later and less interesting criticism are in fact shared by Skjervheim’s criticism of the Circle. Skjervheim may indeed have suffered from placing too much trust in Næss’s grasp of the important issues. The resulting overall picture is thus quite different from what may be called the received view in Norway, which sees both Næss and Skjervheim as important philosophers well connected with the best work in international research at their time.
This paper consolidates the argumentation theory of Arne Næss with contemporaneous informal logic. The paper starts with a short reference of macrostructures of arguments, followed by a discussion of Walton’s principles of evaluation of linked and convergent argument structures. After pointing out some weakness of Walton’s overall theory, we propose that Næss’ separated notions of tenability and relevance can solve some of the shortcomings. This is done by showing how the notions of tenability and relevance can be applied to a Toulmin structure. Finally we propose how all this can be put to work in evaluation of a pro- and contra-argumentation.
The philosophical debate between Arne Næss and Hans Skjervheim in the 1950s was concerned with how to understand the behavior of man. With some modifications grounded in Jakob von Uexküll’s Umwelt theory, Næss accepted the behavioristic doctrine, while Skjervheim rejected the approach and instead advocated investigations in accordance with Martin Heidegger’s existentialistic understanding of man’s being-in-the-world. As maintained in the article, the divergence between Næss and Skjervheim was owing to the fact that Næss utilized the Umwelt-theory stripped of its Kantian influence and thus failed to grasp the theory’s evolutionary grounding. Næss later modified his views, and during the 1970s he and Skjervheim both engaged in the environmental movement with closely apposed understandings of man’s being-in-the-world.
A recurring theme in the thought of Hans Skjervheim is the following question: How to live good lives together with others? But Skjervheim’s «the other» is always a human other. In the light of the ecological crisis we should also ask ourselves: How can we live good lives together with nonhuman others? I suggest that a part of the answer to that question is an extended critique of objectivism. Through interpretations of Hans Jonas’ The Phenomenon of Life and Arne Johan Vetlesen’s The Denial of Nature, I argue, in contrast to Skjervheim, that nonhuman others are subjects with a kind of freedom, and that their subjectivity and freedom marks a limit to the exercise of human power. Further I argue that humans and nonhumans can share a common world and that humans can suffer a kind of alienation in the relation to nature, as well as the better known kinds of alienation in relation to other humans. I conclude that Skjervheim deserves to be read because he provides good critiques of objectivism of humans, but that the ecologically concerned philosopher has to move beyond Skjervheim’s philosophical framework.
This study addresses the question of whether examen philosophicum students at UiT The Artic University of Norway found it useful to be introduced to learning outcomes for the examen philosophicum seminars. The results were mainly positive. The students reported that it was useful to be introduced to learning outcomes at the beginning of the semester. The article goes through the motivation and theoretical background for the study and the seminar teaching at examen philosophicum. Then the study is presented with an ensuing discussion of the results.