Where Philosophy Meets Politics: The Concept of the Environment

Avner de‐Shalit

in The Environment Between Theory and Practice

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780199240388
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599033 | DOI:
 Where Philosophy Meets Politics: The Concept of the Environment

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Through the examination of Eco‐feminism and Deep Ecology, it is demonstrated how many in these two schools have misused the concept of ‘environment’ and caused a confusion that has been detrimental to the social and political status of environmental philosophy. It is argued that when putting forward political goals that are legitimate and justified, but not ‘environmental’ at all, they have ‘conceptually exploited’ the ‘environment’. The reasons for environmental philosophy's lack of popularity among politicians and activists are (1) that it fails to distinguish between meta‐ethics and political theory, (2) that it identifies goals that do not necessarily appeal to environmentalists, and (3) that it overextended the use of its main concepts and caused confusion and vagueness.

Keywords: activism; conceptual instrumentalism; deep ecology; ecofeminism; environment; environmental philosophy; environmentalism; meta‐ethics; political theory; politicians

Chapter.  11146 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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