Monday, June 16, 2014

Emplotting Virtue: 

A Narrative Approach to Environmental Virtue Ethics


A rich hermeneutic account of the way virtue is understood and developed.

Despite its ancient roots, virtue ethics has only recently been fully appreciated as a resource for environmental philosophy. Other approaches dominated by utilitarian and duty-based appeals for sacrifice and restraint have had little success in changing behavior, even to the extent that ecological concerns have been embraced. Our actions often do not align with our beliefs. Fundamental to virtue ethics is an acknowledgment that neither good ethical rules nor good intentions are effective absent the character required to bring them to fulfillment. Brian Treanor builds on recent work on virtue ethics in environmental philosophy, finding an important grounding in the narrative theory of philosophers like Paul Ricoeur and Richard Kearney. Character and ethical formation, Treanor argues, are intimately tied to our relationship with the narratives through which we view the human place in the natural world. By reframing environmental questions in terms of individual, social, and environmental narratives about flourishing, Emplotting Virtue offers a powerful vision of how we might remake our character so as to live more happily, more sustainably, and more virtuously in a diverse, beautiful, wondrous, and fragile world.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Book: Interpreting Nature: The Emerging Field of Environmental Hermeneutics, Fordham University Press 2013

Recently published:

Interpreting Nature: The Emerging Field of Environmental Hermeneutics  

Edited by Forrest Clingerman, Brian Treanor, Martin Drenthen, and David Utsler.   

Fordham University Press, 2013

Modern environmentalism has come to realize that many of its key concerns "wilderness" and "nature" among them are contested territory, viewed differently by different people. Understanding nature requires science and ecology, to be sure, but it also requires a sensitivity tom, history, culture, and narrative. Thus, understanding nature is a fundamentally hermeneutic task.

Table of Contents

   Introduction: Environmental Hermeneutics
       David Utsler, Forrest Clingerman, Martin Drenthen, and Brian Treanor

Part I: Interpretation and the Task of Thinking Environmentally
   1. Hermeneutics Deep in the Woods

       John van Buren
    2. Morrow's Ants: E. O. Wilson and Gadamer's Critique of (Natural) Historicism

       Mick Smith
    3. Layering: Body, Building, Biography
        Robert Mugerauer 
   4. Might Nature Be Interpreted as a "Saturated Phenomenon"?
        Christina M. Gschwandtner
    5. Must Environmental Philosophy Relinquish the Concept of Nature? A Hermeneutic Reply to Steven Vogel
        W. S. K. Cameron

Part II: Situating the Self
   6. Environmental Hermeneutics and Environmental/Eco-Psychology: Explorations in Environmental Identity
        David Utsler 
   7. Environmental Hermeneutics With and For Others: Ricoeur's Ethics and the Ecological Self 
       Nathan Bell 
   8. Bodily Moods and Unhomely Environments: The Hermeneutics of Agoraphobia and the Spirit of Place
        Dylan Trigg

Part III: Narrativity and Image
   9. Narrative and Nature: Appreciating and Understanding the Nonhuman World
        Brian Treanor 
  10. The Question Concerning Nature 
       Sean McGrath
   11. New Nature Narratives: Landscape Hermeneutics and Environmental Ethics
        Martin Drenthen

Part IV: Environments, Place, and the Experience of Time
 12. Memory, Imagination, and the Hermeneutics of Place

        Forrest Clingerman
 13. The Betweenness of Monuments
       Janet Donohoe
 14. My Place in the Sun
       David Wood
 15. How Hermeneutics Might Save the Life of (Environmental) Ethics

        Paul Van Tongeren and Paulien Snellen

A Bibliographic Overview of Research in Environmental Hermeneutics
List of Contributors



"Interpreting Nature is an excellent collection of essays. This collection is a very welcome addition to the literature and helps to move forward philosophical reflection on the idea of 'nature' and charts new and important ways to think about the task of an environmental ethics." - Charles Brown, Emporia State University

"This is a superb book, written with clarity, precision, and deep feeling for a better understanding of differing approaches to interpreting the wider natural world." - Mark Wallace, Swarthmore College

Friday, May 6, 2011

Readings in Zoosemiotics

From the International Society for Environmental Ethics Newsletter, Volume 22, No. 1 Spring 2011:

—Maran, Timo, Dario Martinelli, and Aleksei Turovski. Readings in Zoosemiotics. Boston, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, Inc., 2011.
This book is the first annotated reader to focus specifically on the discipline of zoosemiotics. Zoosemiotics can be defined today as the study of signification, communication and representation within and across animal species. The volume includes a wide selection of original texts accompanied by editorial introductions. An extensive opening introduction discusses the place of zoosemiotics among other sciences as well as its inner dimensions; the understanding of the concept of communication in zoosemiotics, the heritage of biologist Jakob v. Uexküll; contemporary developments in zoosemiotics and other issues. Chapter introductions discuss the background of the authors and selected texts, as well as other relevant texts. The selected texts cover a wide range of topics, such as semiotic constitution of nature, cognitive capabilities of animals, typology of animal expression and many other issues. The roots of zoosemiotics can be traced back to the works of David Hume and John Locke. Great emphasis is placed on the heritage of Thomas A. Sebeok, and a total of four of his essays are included. The Reader also includes influential studies in animal communication (honey bee dance language, vervet monkey alarm calls) as well as theory elaborations by Gregory Bateson and others. The reader concludes with a section dedicated to contemporary research. Readings in Zoosemiotics is intended as a primary source of information about zoosemiotics, and also provides additional readings for students of cognitive ethology and animal communication studies.

New book on Ecological hermeneutics

From the International Society for Environmental Ethics Newsletter, Volume 22, No. 1 Spring 2011:

Horrell, David G., Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Cherryl Hunt, and Christopher Southgate. Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives. London: T & T Clark, 2010.
Leading scholars reflect critically on the kinds of appeal to the Bible that have been made in environmental ethics and ecotheology. ―Ecological Hermeneutics‖ reflects critically on the kinds of appeal to the Bible that have been made in environmental ethics and ecotheoloogy; engages with biblical texts with a view towards exploring their contribution to an ecological ethics; and, explores the kind of hermeneutic necessary for such engagement to be fruitful for contemporary theology and ethics. Crucial to such broad reflection is the bringing together of a range of perspectives: biblical studies, historical theology, hermeneutics, and theological ethics. The thematic coherence of the book is provided by the running focus on the ways in which biblical texts have been, or might be, read. This is not a volume on ecotheology; but rather on ecological hermeneutics. Indeed, some essays may show where biblical texts, or particular approaches in the history of interpretation, represent anthropocentric or even anti-ecological moves. One of the overall aims of the book will be to suggest how, and why, an ecological hermeneutic might be developed, and the kinds of intepretive choices that are required in such a development.

Pt. I. Biblical perspectives
1. ―The creation stories: their ecological potential and problems‖ by John W. Rogerson
2. ―Sacrifice in Leviticus: eco-friendly ritual or unholy waste?‖ by Jonathan Morgan
3. ―Reading the prophets from an environmental perspective‖ by John Barton
4. ―The significance of the Wisdom tradition in the ecological debate‖ by Katharine J. Dell
5. ―Reading the synoptic gospels ecologically‖ by Richard Bauckham
6. ―An ecological reading of Rom. 8.19-22: possibilities and hesitations‖ by Brendan Byrne
7. ―Hellenistic cosmology and the letter to the Colossians: towards an ecological hermeneutic ― by Vicky S. Balabanski
8. ―Retrieving the earth from the conflagration: 2 Peter 3.5-13 and the environment‖ by Edward Adams
Pt. II. Insights from the history of interpretation.
9. ―In the beginning: Irenaeus, creation and the environment‖ by Francis Watson
10. ―Power and dominion: patristic interpretations of Genesis I‖ by Morwenna Ludlow
11. ―Thomas Aquinas: reading the idea of dominion in the light of the doctrine of creation‖ by
Mark Wynn
12. ―Martin Luther, the word of God and nature: Reformation hermeneutics in context‖ by H. Paul Santmire
13. ―'Remaining loyal to the earth': humanity, God‘s other creatures and the Bible‖ by Karl Barth and Geoff Thompson
14. ―Hans Urs von Balthasar: beginning with beauty‖ by David Moss
15. ―Between creation and transfiguration: the environment in the Eastern Orthodox tradition‖ by Andrew Louth
16. ―Jürgen Moltmann‘s ecological hermeneutics‖ by Jeremy Law
Pt. III. Contemporary hermeneutical possibilities.
17. ―Green millennialism: American evangelicals, environmentalism, and the book of Revelation‖ by Harry O. Maier
18. ―New Testament eschatology and the ecological crisis in theological and ecclesial perspective‖ by Stephen C. Barton
19. ―Keeping the commandments: the meaning of sustainable countryside‖ by Tim Gorringe
20. ―What on earth is an ecological hermeneutics?: some broad parameters‖ by Ernst M. Conradie.