ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY AS WORLD PHILOSOPHY
ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY AS WORLD PHILOSOPHY
This issue of Dialogue and Universalism is devoted to the promotion and realization of intercultural and transcultural forms of philosophical reflection aimed at improving the fate of humanity and our shared co-inhabitants of Planet Earth. This project is simultaneously philosophical and practical.
Ecological disruption, now occurring at ever-increasing spatial and temporal scales, is a threat to all existing life-forms and ecosystems, as well as to the integrity and stability of present and future human civilization(s). As I write this, in the summer of 2023, our globally shared climate crisis continues to
worsen. With each passing year, the tragic consequences of the now many varieties of eco-disruption become increasingly clear. Runaway global warming becomes more apparent with ever increasing record-breaking temperatures. Extinction rates rise as wildlife habitat gives way to economic development. The frequency and intensity of wildfires in Hawaii, Canada, Africa, Siberia, and beyond become progressively more shocking. Sea levels rise as land-based ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt. These urgent issues present our times with the unprecedented challenge of learning how best to live in a new historical, biological, and geological era whose defining feature is a humanly shaped and ecologically degraded world.
A growing number of geologists, geophysicists, and other Earth scientists have named this new geological epoch the “Anthropocene,” a term meaning the age of man. They argue that humans are now the ecologically dominant force on Earth as homo sapiens have become an elemental force of nature now controlling biodiversity and ecosystem processes as much as climate and geography. These geologists, along with climate scientists, environmentalists, and everyday citizens now recognize this new reality to be a profoundly important turning point for contemporary culture.
A coherent and optimal response to the new ecological reality of systemic global ecological disorders calls for international and intercultural dialogue structured around diverse understanding(s) of what is at stake, of what is in danger of being lost, and of what may still be conserved, preserved, maintained, and protected. Although we live in an historical era with instant global communication, increasing political, economic, and cultural cooperation, the possibilities of constructive international and intercultural dialogue on the great issues of our time are seriously undermined by rising levels of xenophobic nationalism and the resulting retreat into ethnic separatism. The paradoxical reality of this new historical and geological era presents a special challenge to the discipline of philosophy.
Philosophy began, in its various cultural manifestations, as an attempt to make better sense of ourselves and the world around us. Questions concerning the nature of the Good Life and how best to pursue it have never been far from the core aims of philosophical thinking in each of its cultural expressions. These questions have too often been lost in recent decades as the discipline of philosophy has become increasingly specialized, concentrating on ever more narrowly defined problems. The various forms of environmental philosophy that have emerged in recognition of local and global ecological problems are powerful reminders of the enduring importance of questions concerning the Good Life and the importance of holistic approaches to those questions.
The papers in this issue of Dialogue and Universalism attempt to sketch a role for philosophy in our time and place; a role that begins with the recognition of a world that is progressively inhospitable to living beings, species, and ecosystems. These essays move towards forms of environmental philosophy(s)
that self-consciously seek to construct intercultural or transcultural ways of making sense of our time and place and how best to envision what may still be possible and desirable. These essays are moving towards the construction of a globally inclusive discourse/dialogue needed to address the serious and interculturally shared issues of our time and place.
Any realization of the possibility for constructing such globally inclusive and potentially overlapping ecological discourses/dialogues will largely be the result of a mutually cooperative process involving many peoples and cultures. Such a project can only emerge from grassroots efforts motivated by the internal dynamics within diverse communities of thought.
These essays point beyond themselves and toward the project of creating a globally diverse and transcultural philosophical community through dialogue between and among the world’s cultural traditions. Such a project features a directionality, a movement towards something whose ultimate telos is not yet fixed nor fully defined and begins with an effort to explore similarities and differences between different cultural traditions with the goal of cultivating mutual understanding and respect. The cultivation of mutual understanding and respect further invites us to “step outside” one’s own culture and thereby see the world from new perspectives and to “build bridges between different cultures” thereby allowing the integration of culturally produced or culturally bound insights into a larger “transcultural framework.” This, in turn, opens the possibility of a dialogue in which our own views become subject to challenge and revision in light of what we may learn from other cultures and the hope that we may learn to rub seemingly discordant ideas together and spark new insights.
In different ways, these essays acknowledge that the construction of such globally shared discourses calls for a recognition of the kinship between different perspectives, identities, and cultures that too often separate us. A common theme running through these papers, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, is the need for a more inclusive form of thinking that is open to a diversity of perspectives. These papers advocate a way of thinking that resists conceiving the world in terms of fixed and separate elements, atoms, particles, cultures, or monadic selves. Instead, they argue for what some see as an ecologically inspired way of thinking that reflects the ideas of ontological flux, mutual reciprocity, symbiosis, integration of differences, and transspecies kinship. These papers advocate ways of thinking that recognize the identities of people and things in terms of mutual and interdependent relations rather than standalone fixed essences.
These essays extend the boundaries of philosophical reflection beyond its usual parameters by integrating data and insights from the natural and social sciences, literary criticism, and the world’s religious traditions. This approach moves toward considering the endless varieties of the different ways of making sense of things as essential moments within a larger and open-ended process. The Editorial team of Dialogue and University is deeply grateful to the authors for their efforts.
distinguished professor of philosophy
Emporia State University, USA
Mykhailo Beilin, Iryna Soina, Olena Horbenko, Oleksandr Zheltoborodov
ONTOLOGY OF NATURAL LANDSCAPES AND HUMAN GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS
The problem raised in the article is actualized not by the artificial attachment of the topic of ecology to the existential problems of humankind, but by the urgent need to conceptualize the dangers of a growing gap between the further development of civilization and ignoring the primary nature of its existence, the analysis of modern specific dangers of wildlife, flora and fauna, catastrophic climatic phenomena, desertification, and chemical pollution of the land. The posed problem of the conceptualization of wild nature logically continues the intention of the authors to turn to the human-dimensional characteristics of the entire natural environment. At the level of socio-philosophical analysis, the meaning of a new model of relations between society and nature is revealed, and alternative concepts of nature protection to modern practices are comprehended. The importance of wildlife in its narrowed (terrestrial) space for social development on the established ideological principles of the most careful attitudes to wildlife, taking into account the reverse dangerous impact of the destructible habitat on humanity, has been proved.
Keywords: primeval nature, sacred space, ecological antibiosis, global ecological consciousness, biological diversity of the world, natural resources, cultural landscapes, technogenic world.
Beilin Mykhailo Valeriyovych — Department of Humanities, Kharkiv State Academy of Physical Culture, Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Soina Iryna Yuriivna — Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Languages, Kharkov State Academy of Physical Culture, Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Horbenko Olena Volodymyrivna — Department of Gymnastics, Dance Sports and Choreography, Kharkiv State Academy of Physical Culture, Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Zheltoborodov Oleksandr Mykolayovych — Department of Humanities, Kharkiv State Academy of Physical Culture, Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Earnest N. Bracey
POLITICS, RACISM, AND ENVIRONMENTAL (IN)JUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES
Fairness has long been denied for African-Americans and other people of color when it comes to environmental injustices, or crimes committed by state governments and polluting industries/corporations. Unfortunately, polluting companies often go unpunished for their environmental misdeeds, particularly if what they do is in minority or marginalized communities. Furthermore, environmental biases in American courts, unfortunately, are still prevalent in our society today—that is, when it comes to vulnerable groups, who continue to seek environmental justice, but cannot fight back. Environmental injustice, therefore, should be considered unjust acts when it comes to polluting communities of color. Also, environmental issues are always problematic, especially in regard to climate change.
In a certain sense, there is an urgent need to protect these disadvantaged communities of color from polluting corporations. Indeed, can we end this environmental cruelty? More importantly, how can we stop polluters from burying hazardous material in landfills on lands owned by Indigenous people or Native Americans? Polluting industries must also be put on notice, and we must question anyone in the energy business who is deceptive about their nasty pollution. It should be obvious that nothing will change anytime soon regarding the environmental injustice issue if we do not get involved and fight the polluters head-on, and without reservation.
Keywords: pollution, climate change, justice, impact statement, lawsuits, injustice, advocacy, minorities.
Affiliation: American Politics and Black American History at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.
LEOPOLD, HUSSERL, DARWIN AND THE POSSIBILITY OF INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
Baird Callicott et al. have argued that Aldo Leopold developed a descriptive technique that has something in common with phenomenology and that it would not be farfetched to explore A Sand County Almanac as a kind of Heideggerian clearing in which usually unnoticed beings come to light. They further suggest that Leopold describes animal others as fellow subjects who co-constitute the world and that through his method of observation, description, and reflection Leopold reveals a “multi-perspective experience of a common environment” that discloses an inter-species intersubjectivity comparable to Husserl’s more formal descriptions of intersubjectivity.
I shall argue that the similarities between Husserl and Leopold are stronger and deeper than Callicott et al. suggest. Husserl’s method is designed to expose what has been hidden by “ideological positivism,” while Leopold’s method is designed to reveal what has been concealed by what he labels “conventional physics. Both agree that what we might today call a “scientistic worldview” denies, devalues, and dismisses subjectivity, meaning, and value from rational discourse. In Husserl’s view this leads to cultural crisis and barbarism, while in Leopold’s view it leads to ecological catastrophe. For Husserl the only alternative is a cultural renewal rooted in a rethinking of the dominant scientistic worldview while for Leopold the alternative lies in the construction of a new ethical system. These two alternatives are deeply compatible. Finally, I will discuss the ways in which Husserl’s understanding of the intentionality of our subjective experiences and Leopold’s integration of the evolutionary and ecological kinship of humans and non-humans with the social sciences have important implications for the possibility of intercultural understanding and dialogue and thereby allow us to overcome the thesis of incommensurability that denies the possibility of meaningful intercultural understanding and dialogue.
Keywords: positivism, phenomenology, intentionality, intersubjectivity, interspecies kinship, intercultural dialogue.
Affiliation: Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA.
THE TOPOS OF MU AND THE PREDICATIVE SELF
Terminologically, the “topos of mu” and the “predicative self” originated in the Kyoto School and are traceable to the work of its founder NISHIDA Kitarō. The full phrase was coined by NAKAMURA Yūjirō. Conceptually, the topos of mu or place of nothingness is Nishida’s development of the Buddhist notion of anatta or no self and radiating out from that locus of emptiness is a self constituted by its predicates or the things to which it is connected by an existential copula. Deeply ingrained in Western languages, metaphysics, and religion is the subjective self, in both the linguistic and psychological senses of “subjective.” That Buddhism, as reworked by the Kyota School, or Daoism, or any other non-Western tradition of thought, will catch on in the West was a puerile fantasy of some members of the first generation of environmental philosophers. There is a good chance, however, that the Western worldview may evolve toward a similar conception of the self—as ecological, relational, or systems thinking becomes ever more ingrained. We in the West may come to understand that we are constituted by our social and environmental relationships, in which we are deeply embedded and on which we are utterly dependent, such that world care is the essence of self-help.
Keywords: the topos of mu, The Tao of Physics, monadic self, predicative or relational self, evolutionary-ecological worldview, comparative philosophy, mutual codependence, integrated systems paradigm.
Affiliation: University of North Texas
Marta Dixa, Krzysztof Łastowski
SEARCHING FOR PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Implementing sustainable development is one of the essential tasks in the current human activity in managing our planet’s natural resources. It is a challenge not only for ecology, demography, anthropology and philosophy but also turns out to be a challenge for other disciplines supporting research on the nature of the human species and its changes. The practical implementation of this idea assumes a detailed knowledge of the factors determining the development of civilisation, as well as the factors that disturb this development.
In this article, we present arguments that, through modelling, illustrate the historical regularities of the development of the human race, starting from the Neolithic Age through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and early Middle Ages (models 2–5), to the contemporary image of civilisation development (model 6). These arguments show that in the past, the history of civilisation was fundamentally influenced by three factors: biological, social and cultural. However, in the modern era, an important fourth factor emerges, which is the cognitive factor. Moreover, the historical approach to development (models 2–5) fits into the so-called Malthusian pattern of development, which follows an exponential curve (models 2–5). In contrast, the development of modern civilisation (model 6) follows the Volterra pattern, which is modelled on a logarithmic curve. We hypothesise that the transition from the Malthusian to the Volterra pattern took place precisely due to a new development factor—the cognitive factor. The increase in its rank in the history of civilisation development is presented using a four-factor model. We present the characteristics of this factor and place it in our model, showing how it will fundamentally determine the optimisation of the principles of sustainable civilisation development. In the conclusion of the given argumentation, we emphasise the need to promote various forms of education as the primary tool of humanity in pursuit of sustainable development.
Keywords: Civilizational development models, biological factor, social factor, cultural factor, cognitive factor, patterns of civilization development.
Marta Dixa — Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań.
Krzysztof Łastowski – Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
ECOGYNISM AS UNSPOKEN DIALOGUE BETWEEN HUMANS AND NATURE
The possibility of dialogue between human beings and nature has been a subject of controversy with fundamental interpretations and reinterpretations among philosophers. Some have argued that the idea of human–nature dialogue is ill-informed, absurd and misleading because humans and non-humans lack the capacity for mutual linguistic understanding and reciprocity. This paper argues otherwise, by appropriating Marie Pauline Eboh’s concept of “Ecogynism as Unspoken Dialogue” to analytically show the dialogical possibility between human beings and nature. Ecogynism is considered as an approach and method towards the consideration of a new form of dialogue with a view to achieving friendly and harmonious synthesis of existence, and proffering solutions to natural disasters and issues relating to environmental sustainability. However, the form of dialogue accentuated in this article is not akin to conversation or discussion that requires an exchange of views, but an unspoken dialogue that is based on meta-epistemic and existential modes of communication, sensibility, and interaction, to reveal the natural interrelatedness and mutuality of all existents and supplant the dominance of androcentrism.
Keywords: ecogynism, unspoken dialogue, natural disaster, environmental sustainability, androcentrism.
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, P.M.B. 5080, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Oluwatobi David Esan, Solomon Kolawole Awe
THE YORUBA CONCEPT OF THE OKUN OMO IYA AS A CRITIQUE OF MARTIN BUBER’S “I-THOU” AND THE QUEST FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
This paper attempts to critique the existential philosophy of Martin Buber’s theory of the “I-Thou” using the Yoruba concept of okun omo iya. The need for the realization of a sustainable environment has been a point of focus for researchers, scholars, and government policy makers. The reason for this realization is not far-fetched. According to a record from World Health Organisation (WHO), one-quarter of all deaths worldwide are attributed to over-exploitation and reckless usage of the environment. This undoubtedly has caused several human-induced disasters such as floods. The reckless usage and abuse of the environment is predicated on the domineering tendency of humans towards the environment. Martin Buber, in his existentialist philosophy, argues that humans should treat their relations as “I-Thou” (as subjects) and not as “I-It” (as objects). It follows that humans must be considerate in relating with each other such that fellow humans should not be treated as a means to an end, rather as ends in themselves. Simply put, fellow humans should not be seen as objects that others can either control, dominate, or subdue. However, Buber’s existentialist philosophy is human-centered, as it excludes the non-human entities and as well, failed to explain the relationship that should exist between humans and non-human entities. Hence, the Yoruba concept of okun omo iya will be used as a paradigm to remodel and re-configure the existentialist philosophy of Buber in a way that is environmentally inclusive.
Keywords: Yoruba, Okun Omo Iya, “I-Thou,” existentialism, sustainable environment.
Oluwatobi David ESAN —Department of Philosophy, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Email: Esan Oluwatobi email@example.com
Solomon Kolawole AWE — independent researcher in philosophy.
Elmira Fakhrudinova, Zhanna Konovalova
THE IMPACT OF NATURAL DISASTERS ON INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE AND ITS REFLECTION IN DAVE EGGER’S ZEITOUN
The paper addresses the issue of intercultural dialogue and its importance for ecological humanism and how this problem is reflected in American literary nonfiction at the beginning of the 21st century (as exemplified by nonfiction novel Zeitoun by Dave Eggers). The authors of the article come to the conclusion that the successful resolution of modern socio-ecological crises requires practical humanism and the actualization of the principles of ecological philosophy. The most important component of the dialogue among cultures at all levels is the moral component, since it is mutual recognition and respect for norms, customs, traditions, ideals, eternal moral values that are the basis for the mutual enrichment of cultures, as well as the socio-political, environmental and economic stability of society as a whole. The book Zeitoun by Eggers demonstrates the importance of intercultural dialogue especially in situations in which entire nations face global ecological disaster.
Keywords: intercultural dialogue, national identity, ecological humanism, interculturalism, multiculturalism, literary nonfiction.
Elmira Fahrudinova — Kazan State Power Engineering University, Department of Philosophy and Media Communications, Krasnoselskaia Street, 420066, Kazan, Russia.
Zhanna Konovalova — Kazan Federal University, Department of Foreign Languages in the Sphere of International Relations, Universitetskaia Street, 420008, Kazan, Russia.
Chantal Noa Forbes
(S)ANIMISM, RELATIONAL ONTOLOGY, AND TRANSSPECIES BECOMING
In this article, I suggest that the challenge of the Anthropocene is an ontological challenge arising from modern humans’ abstraction from our environment, rooted in the substance ontology of Euro-Cartesian metaphysics. By comparative philosophical analysis of the cosmological foundations of the San Bushmen’s ontology in southern Africa, this article suggests that being rooted in hunter-gatherer metaphysics is a key component of our species’ ability to symbiotically adapt by fostering the relational practice of ontological ambiguity, fluidity, and mutability that facilitates a process of transspecies becoming. Through both animistic and European philosophical perspectives, I suggest that the posthumanist practice of becoming by process of ontological flux reinforces an Earth-centered epistemology that can assist postmodern humans in transitioning from an ontological impasse that has resulted in environmental fragmentation to a relational ontology that re-establishes an ecological web of transspecies kinship.
Keywords: Ontological flux, posthumanism, relational ontology, becoming-animal, transspecies kinship.
Affiliation: California Institute of Integral Studies.
THE ROLE OF THE GLANCE IN OVERCOMING THE DISUNITY OF KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE IN ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY
Statistics show, that even though an ethical respect for nature is both widely advocated by current mainstream environmental philosophy and is increasingly publicly accepted, this is not enough to ensure the needed practical actions to protect and preserve the natural world and its living beings. This reflects a disconnection between the related intellectual or theoretical appreciation of the integrity or value within the natural world and the sorts of practices needed to heal or to motivate the actions needed for ecological integrity and sustainability. Awareness of this disunity or disconnection calls for a philosophical examination of this disconnection.
This paper argues that the disunity between knowledge and practice reflects a “blind spot” in those sorts of mainstream environmental philosophy that attempt to establish a rational basis for an ethical respect for nature and humans’ ethical responsibility to the environment. This paper shall reveal that blind spot and its origin by examining and building on Ed Casey’s analysis and phenomenological description of an original and authentic directly lived ethical response to the environment that he calls the “first moment of ethical response.”
Casey’s description of this “first moment of ethical response,” rooted in his phenomenological horizon, allows him to break away from the horizon of current mainstream environmental ethics and uncover a field of original and authentic ethical experience that opens an area of investigation closed to current environmental ethics. In this way Casey’s work can reveal the limitations of the scientific horizon of mainstream environmental ethics and has great value in the overcoming of the blind spot and its ill effect.
Keywords: the disunity of knowledge and practice; The First Moment; ethical response to the environment; glance; phenomenology.
Affiliation: Henan Normal University.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rangga Kala Mahaswa, Hardiyanti
ROMANTICIZING THE PAST, GLORIFYING THE FUTURE: WORKING WITH ECOLOGICAL MODERNIZATION AND DEVELOPMENTALISM
Development is a consistent element in the implementation of Indonesian policies. However, it has become increasingly challenging, particularly following the decline of the New Order regime and Indonesia’s rejection of certain political practices associated with it. This paper aims to present a reflective analysis of the evolving nature of development, from its initiation under the New Order regime to the present postReformation era, and how nationalist development navigates the intricate cultural landscape in Indonesia as well as exploring the possibility of the idea of ecological modernization being an alternative to the obsolete New Order development model.
Keywords: Developmentalism, ecological modernization, environmental politics, New Order, Indonesia.
Rangga Kala Mahaswa — Faculty of Philosophy, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Ze-No: Centre for Logic and Metaphysics.
Hardiyanti, better known as Dyl Basri — an independent writer and translator based in North Kalimantan, Indonesia.
BUDDHIST ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS: TWO METHODOLOGICAL MODELS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
There is no greater threat today to the security of life on this earth than environmental degradation covering all aspects of Nature—plants, animals and human. It is imperative to take interest in a future which lies beyond the boundary of our short-sighted outlook and self-interests. Non-western and indigenous cultural approaches to environmental issues are relevant today. Following Buddhist Ethics we can extend love, compassion, and non-violence in practice and limit our greed, and also we can take interest in protecting the right to happiness of future generations. In the light of the ethical teachings contained in the texts of Buddhism, I propose two different methodological models, namely the “Honey-Bee Model” and “Mother-Child Model,” for addressing an ideal relation between humans and Nature. The Buddhist approach to environmental issues is based on the law of Dependent Origination and the theory of Not-Self or Relational Self. I shall also argue that Buddha’s teaching integrates all aspects of the ecosphere—individuals and general species—in terms of mutual interdependence, which in a sense an attempt to institutionalize care and welfare ethics beyond the human domain to also reach the animal and plant worlds. This paper is an attempt to address current ecological problems from the moral perspective of Buddhism.
Keywords: sustainable development, bio-diversity, ego-centric, eco-centric, Mother-Child Model, Honey-Bee Model, deep ecology.
Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, University of Calcutta, 1 Reformatory Street. Kolkata, 700027, India.
Piotr Skubała, Magdalena Ochwat
ON THE ROLE OF SYMBIOTIC THINKING IN THE AGE OF THE ANTHROPOCENE
The human influence on the earth’s ecosystem has become so destructive that we need a new vision of the world that will offer hope. The article is an attempt to create a new interdisciplinary way that takes into account the role of symbiosis in the functioning of life on Earth. Australian scholar Glenn Albrecht postulates the conceptual framework for the new epoch and calls it the Symbiocene. which will be characterized by replicating symbiotic life processes in human activities. At the same time, science clearly states that the relationships among organisms are predominantly cooperative and symbiotic in nature. The article focuses on three selected phenomena in which close multilateral cooperation plays a significant role. These are: the life of lichens, the functioning of mycelium with plants, especially the role of Mother Trees over young stands, and permaculture as an example of symbiotic agriculture. We take these examples as a training in collective imagination in good interspecies living and draw on selected literary texts. We believe that the idea of the Symbiocene, an inclusive and integrative philosophy of life, has great potential to become a new direction not only in the natural sciences, but also in the social sciences and humanities.
Keywords: symbiosis, Glenn Albrecht, symbiotic stories, Anthropocene.
Piotr Skubała –– University of Silesia, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Katowice, Poland.
Magdalena Ochwat –– Institute of Literary Studies at University of Silesia in Katowice.
Lorena Valeria Stuparu
THE WORLD AS A HOSPITABLE SPACE: A POSSIBLE DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY
In this study I intend to prove that there is a close connection between ethical purposes of Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy and the idea of sacred nature as part of the “world” in a phenomenological sense, which includes sacred space as defined in the philosophy of religion. The main points that intersect here are: the idea of sacred space; the perception of virtue in a sacred world; the beauty of creation: nature, life, human sensibility. The theoretical background of this study contains points of view that express phenomenological, hermeneutic, theological, and aesthetic conceptions belonging to authors and exegetes such as Mircea Eliade, William E. Paden, David Cave, Ion Ianoși, Douglas Allen, Arnold Berleant, and Vincent Blok. I believe that the neglect of the environment-as-a-condition-of-life (the consequences of which can already be seen in ecological imbalances) is caused by, among other factors, the desacralization of human attitudes towards nature and the world of life. Few people still have a feeling of sacred nature or the aesthetic emotion of perceiving beauty in natural forms. The relationship with the environment and nature is reduced to its exploitation as a source of economic profit or as a way for spending free time, a source of personal comfort devoid of any spiritual significance. Surely we cannot go back to archaic religions or medieval Christianity, but we can reintegrate into our moral values something of those cultures’ admiration and respect for the beauty/sublimity of nature and the world as expressions of divine creation, as something sacred. Philosophical debates related to this retrieval and their dissemination could be part of solving the ecological problems of the contemporary world.
Keywords: sacred space, center, plural worlds, natural symbols, the beauty of creation.
Affiliation: Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations “Ion I. C. Brătianu,” Romanian Academy.