Zimmerman, Michael E.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 15/3 (1993), pages 195-224
Recent disclosures regarding the relationship between Heidegger’s thought and his own version of National Socialism have led me to rethink my earlier efforts to portray Heidegger as a forerunner of deep ecology. His political problems have provided ammunition for critics, such as Murray Bookchin, who regard deep ecology as a reactionary movement. In this essay, I argue that, despite some similarities, Heidegger’s thought and deep ecology are in many ways incompatible, in part because deep ecologists—in spite of their criticism of the ecologically destructive character of technological modernity—generally support a “progressive” idea of human evolution.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 15/3 (1993), pages 225-244
While both ecofeminism and deep ecology share a commitment to overcoming the conventional division between humanity and nature, a major difference between the two is that deep ecology brings little social analysis to its environmental ethic. I argue that there are ideological reasons for this difference. Applying a sociology of knowledge and discourse analysis to deep ecological texts to uncover these reasons, I conclude that deep ecology is constrained by political attitudes meaningful to white-male, middle-class professionals whose thought is not grounded in the labor of daily maintenance and survival. At a micro-political level, this masculinist orientation is revealed by an armory of defensive discursive strategies and techniques used in deep ecological responses to ecofeminist criticism.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 28/1 (2006), pages 21-35
While much of Arne Naess’s ecosophy underscores the importance of understanding one’s ecological Self, his analyses of gestaltism are significant in that they center less on questions of the self than on questions of nature and what is other-than-human. Rather than the realization of a more expansive Self, gestalt ontology calls for a “gestalt shift” in our thinking about nature, one that allows for its intrinsic value to emerge clearly. Taking such a gestalt shift as a central task enables Naess to avoid some common criticisms of his view.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/2 (1994), pages 195-213
A core project for deep ecologists is the reformulation of the concept of self. In searching for a more inclusive understanding of self, deep ecologists often look to Buddhist philosophy, and to the Japanese Buddhist philosopher Doμgen in particular, for inspiration. I argue that, while Doμgen does share a nondualist, nonanthropocentric framework with deep ecology, his phenomenology of the self is fundamentally at odds with the expanded Self found in the deep ecology literature. I suggest, though I do not fully argue for it, that Doμgen’s account of the self is more sympathetic to one version of ecofeminism than to deep ecology.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 19/1 (1997), pages 69-85
I examine Fox’s tripartite characterization of deep ecology. His assessment abandons Naess’s emphasis upon the pluralism of ultimate norms by distilling what I refer to as the deep ecology approach to “Self-realization!” Contrary to Fox, I argue that his popular sense is distinctive and his formal sense is tenable. Fox’s philosophical sense, while distinctive, is neither necessary nor sufficient to adequately characterize the deep ecology approach. I contend that the deep ecology approach, as a formal approach to environmental philosophy, is not dependent upon and embodies much more than any single ultimate norm. I discuss how Naess’s deep ecology approach supports a wide diversity of ultimate norms. The only stipulation placed upon ultimate norms, to make them deep ecological ultimate norms, is that the so called deep ecology platform be derivable from them. The deep ecology approach is distinguished, in part, through its focus on diminishing environmentally degrading practices and policies by addressing root causes and by highlighting pseudo-conflicts. I present an interpretation of the deep ecology approach that hightlights Naess’s emphasis upon assisting
individuals to arrive at thoroughly reasoned, consistent, and ecologically sound concrete decisions by supporting them in the articulation of their own personal ecological total views (ecosophies).