All posts by Peter Wolsing

Environmental Ethics. From theory to practical change

This paper provides a critical presentation of parts of Anglo-American environmental ethics from the perspective of the environmental crisis. Environmental ethics must attempt to provide the theoretical basis for overcoming the crisis to which it responds. So I suggest a possible connection of theory with practice by arguing that the meta-ethical approach to normativity via an axiology of nature should be supported by a theory like deep ecology that is dedicated to practical change. Naess’s notion of self-realization as an experiential process of gradual identification with all life contains the insight that practical change begins with a fundamental change of attitude.

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Crisis and Environmental Philosophy

Quite a few philosophical questions owe their existence to societal or cultural conflicts. From Plato’s ethics over the young Hegel’s diagnosis of modernity to Marxism and the social philosophy of the Frankfurt School, societal and cultural problems that have left an exceptionally profound mark provide the point of departure of philosophical reflections about the foundations of the principles of these social spheres. Thus the philosophy of law, ethics and the history of philosophy are philosophical disciplines that more or less explicitly arose as responses to societal crises. This paper addresses environmental philosophy from the perspective of environmental crisis. Continue reading Crisis and Environmental Philosophy

Responsibility to Nature? Hans Jonas and Environmental Ethics


The experience of the increasing climate changes on the earth has given rise to gloomy predictions about the development of the entire biosphere in general and to questions about the continuing existence of biological species, in particular mankind, on earth. Since the advanced technology of western civilisation is undoubtedly – at least to some extent – the cause of the substantial changes that seem to threaten the ecological balance, man´s carelessness with nature has not only become a significant matter on the world political agenda, it has also stimulated research in the development of sustainable technological solutions. Not least, it has caused a variety of philosophical reflections on man’s fundamental relation to nature, man’s place in the cosmos. From a religious Christian perspective it has been questioned whether man’s unique position in creation implied a relation of dominion over nature or whether god has assigned to man the role of an administer of the created world. However, secularization has displaced the church from the administration of societal affairs, and this has led to the view that there is no ethical aspect of man’s use of nature but only more or less favourable consequences. Continue reading Responsibility to Nature? Hans Jonas and Environmental Ethics