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Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis…

Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason (Environmental…

by Val Plumwood

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0415178789, Paperback)

Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason is a frontal attack on the irrational assumptions that drive Western society's progress toward ecological catastrophe. Val Plumwood maintains that "the dominant forms of reason--economic, political, scientific, and ethical/prudential--are failing us because they are subject to a systematic pattern of distortions and illusions," distortions that are blind to ecological value. Plumwood aims to expose the conjurers' trick that has gotten us into our predicament. With aplomb and precision, she traces the historical and cultural roots of our reasons for dominating nature.

Environmental Culture is the kind of rigorous philosophical analysis that will fortify the intellectual body of environmentalism. Unfortunately, her prose occasionally lapses into postmodernese, which, for many readers, will obscure her otherwise careful thought. On the other hand, Plumwood's impressive familiarity with philosophy, political theory, and ecology makes her a sophisticated and captivating thinker. And she writes with a sense of urgency that is appropriate for the large-scale ecological destruction being wrought by our current systems. Ultimately, she recommends a new rationality and ethic that can restore the world, one based on fundamental shifts in our thinking, such as expanding our ethics to include other species, and developing a place-based spirituality. Plumwood's prescriptions may be harder to swallow than her compelling critique of our failure of reason, but they point the way toward a world healed of its ecological crisis. --Eric de Place

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:49 -0400)

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