The centrality of philosophical anthropology to (a future) environmental ethics

Autor:Arran Gare
Cargo:Department of Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology
Páginas:16-34
RESUMEN

While environmental ethics has successfully established itself in philosophy, as presently conceived it is still largely irrelevant to grappling the global ecological crisis because, as Alasdair MacIntyre has argued, ethical philosophy itself is in grave disorder. MacIntyre’s historically oriented recovery of virtue ethics is defended, but it is argued that even MacIntyre was too constrained by... (ver resumen completo)

 
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ArrAn GAre The CenTraliTy of PhilosoPhiCal anThroPology
Cuadernos de BioétiCa XXVii 2016/3ª
299
THE CENTRALITY OF PHILOSOPHICAL
ANTHROPOLOGY TO (A FUTURE)
ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
LA CENTRALIDAD DE LA ANTROPOLOGÍA FILOSÓFICA PARA UNA
(FUTURA) ÉTICA AMBIENTAL
ARRAN GARE
Department of Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology
400B221 Hawthorn campus; John St, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Melbourne, Australia; tel.: +61 3 9214 8539;
agare@swin.edu.au
ABSTRACT:
While environmental ethics has successfully established itself in philosophy, as presently conceived it is
still largely irrelevant to grappling the global ecological crisis because, as Alasdair MacIntyre has argued,
ethical philosophy itself is in grave disorder. MacIntyre’s historically oriented recovery of virtue ethics is de-
fended, but it is argued that even MacIntyre was too constrained by received assumptions to overcome this
disorder. As he himself realized, his ideas need to be integrated and defended through philosophical an-
thropology. However, it is suggested that current defenders of philosophical anthropology have not done
it justice. To appreciate its importance it is necessary accept that we are cultural beings in which the core
of culture is the conception of what are humans. This is presupposed not only in thought but in social prac-
tices and forms of life. This was understood by Aristotle, but modernity has been straightjacketed by the
Seventeenth Century scientific revolution and Hobbes’ philosophical anthropology, identifying knowledge
and with techno-science and eliminating any place for questioning this conception of humans. The only
conception of humanity that could successfully challenge and replace Hobbes’ philosophical anthropology,
it is argued, is Hegel’s philosophical anthropology reformulated and developed on naturalistic founda-
tions. This involves subordinating science to a reconceived humanities with a fundamentally different role
accorded to ethics, placing it at the center of social life, politics and economics and at the centre of the
struggle to transform culture and society to create an ecologically sustainable civilization.
RESUMEN:
Mientras que la ética ambiental ha consolidado su presencia en la filosofía, tal como está concebida
todavía es en gran medida irrelevante para lidiar la crisis ecológica global, porque, como argumentó
Alasdair MacIntyre, la ética en sí está en grave desorden. Se defiende la recuperación de orientación
histórica de MacIntyre de ética de la virtud, pero al mismo tiempo se argumenta que incluso MacIntyre fue
demasiado limitado para conjeturar de superar este trastorno. Como él mismo cuenta, sus ideas deben ser
integradas y defendidas a través de la antropología filosófica. Sin embargo, se sostiene que los defensores
actuales de la antropología filosófica no le han todavía hecho justicia. Para apreciar su importancia, es
Palabras clave:
Ética ambiental;
Antropología
filosófica; Alasdair
MacIntyre; Hegel;
Civilización ecológica
Keywords:
Environmental
Ethics; Philosophical
Anthropology;
Alasdair MacIntyre;
Hegel; Ecological
civilization
Recibido: 09/09/2016
Aceptado: 08/11/2016
Cuadernos de Bioética XXVII 2016/3ª
Copyright Cuadernos de Bioética
ArrAn GAre The CenTraliTy of PhilosoPhiCal anThroPology
Cuadernos de BioétiCa XXVii 2016/3ª
300
Another eminent sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, asks
whether ethics can have any place in a world in which
people are now socialized to be consumers rather than
producers or responsible citizens, in which modernity
has been “liquefied”, with all that was solid having
melted into air2. Life for most people in a world of
disposable goods, disposable employees and disposable
identities, is in perpetual flux, the only constant being
their ever increasing levels of debt. People no longer
form integrated communities of producers and strive
for self-governance; they swarm, defining themselves
through their shopping choices. As Bauman observed,
“Swarms need not be burdened by the tools of survival;
they assemble, disperse and gather again, from one oc-
casion to another, each time guided by different, invari-
ably shifting relevancies, and attracted by changing and
moving targets […]. In the case of feeling and thinking
units, the comfort of flying in a swarm derives from
having security in numbers: a belief that the direction
of flight must have been properly chosen since an im-
pressively large swarm is following it”3. In such as social
order, people consume life. The economy of consumers
is an economy that generates waste. As Bauman put it,
“the consumerist economy thrives on the turnover of
commodities, and is seen as booming when more money
2 Bauman, Z. Does Ethics Have a Chance in a World of Con-
sumers?, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2009, Ch. 1.
3 Bauman, Z. Consuming Life, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007,
76-77.
Environmental ethics has established itself as a core
area not only of ethics, but of philosophy. This is hardly
surprising, given growing evidence of just how prob-
lematic is the relation between humanity and its envi-
ronment, with a real possibility that global ecological
destruction will destroy civilization. This indicated that
there is something fundamentally amiss in the values
and attitudes of people, especially in relation to the
rest of nature, that have developed with modernity, the
era in which different branches European civilization
succeeded in dominating the globe either through con-
quest or through the impact of this culture. This led
to the interrogation of current ethical philosophies and
efforts to either revive suppressed traditions of ethi-
cal thought or efforts to develop fundamentally new
ethical doctrines. The subsequent vitality generated by
attempts to meet this challenge account for the promi-
nent place ethical philosophy has now attained within
academia.
However, for those seriously concerned to address
the problematic state of civilization, this success appears
hollow. It appears that ethical philosophy has had very
little impact on how people live or how societies oper-
ate, or on the trajectory of civilization. Ulrich Beck, the
German sociologist, has suggested that invoking ethics
in our current situation is equivalent to attempting to
stop an international jet airliner with a bicycle brake1.
1 Beck, U. «From Industrial Society to Risk Society». In: Cul-
tural Theory and Cultural Change, Featherstone, M. (ed.), Sage,
London, 1992, 106.
necesario aceptar que somos seres culturales, y el núcleo de la cultura es la concepción que tenemos de
la humanidad. Esto se presupone no sólo en el pensamiento, sino también en las prácticas sociales y en
las formas de vida. Esto fue entendido por Aristóteles, pero la modernidad ha sido “encarcelada” por la
revolución científica del siglo XVII y por la antropología filosófica de Hobbes, por la identificación del
conocimiento con la tecnociencia y por la eliminación de cualquier lugar para cuestionar esta concepción
de ser humano. Se sostiene que la única concepción de humanidad que podría desafiar y reemplazar
la antropología filosófica de Hobbes con éxito es la antropología filosófica de Hegel, reformulada y
desarrollada sobre bases naturalistas. Esto implica subordinar la ciencia a una nueva concepción de las
humanidades, con un papel fundamentalmente diferente otorgado a la ética, colocándola en el centro de
la vida social, política y económica y en el centro de la lucha por transformar la cultura y la sociedad, con
el fin de crear una civilización ecológicamente sostenible.

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