Steven Vogel

Steven Vogel is Professor of Philosophy at Denison University and the author of Against Nature: The Concept of Nature in Critical Theory.

  • Thinking like a Mall

    Thinking like a Mall

    Environmental Philosophy after the End of Nature

    Steven Vogel

    A provocative argument that environmental thinking would be better off if it dropped the concept of “nature” altogether and spoke instead of the built environment.

    Environmentalism, in theory and practice, is concerned with protecting nature. But if we have now reached “the end of nature,” as Bill McKibben and other environmental thinkers have declared, what is there left to protect? In Thinking like a Mall, Steven Vogel argues that environmental thinking would be better off if it dropped the concept of “nature” altogether and spoke instead of the “environment”—that is, the world that actually surrounds us, which is always a built world, the only one that we inhabit. We need to think not so much like a mountain (as Aldo Leopold urged) as like a mall. Shopping malls, too, are part of the environment and deserve as much serious consideration from environmental thinkers as do mountains.

    Vogel argues provocatively that environmental philosophy, in its ethics, should no longer draw a distinction between the natural and the artificial and, in its politics, should abandon the idea that something beyond human practices (such as “nature”) can serve as a standard determining what those practices ought to be. The appeal to nature distinct from the built environment, he contends, may be not merely unhelpful to environmental thinking but in itself harmful to that thinking. The question for environmental philosophy is not “how can we save nature?” but rather “what environment should we inhabit, and what practices should we engage in to help build it?”

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change

    Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change

    Human Virtues of the Future

    Allen Thompson and Jeremy Bendik-Keymer

    An analytically precise and theoretically probing exploration of the challenge to our values and virtues posed by climate change.

    Predictions about global climate change have produced both stark scenarios of environmental catastrophe and purportedly pragmatic ideas about adaptation. This book takes a different perspective, exploring the idea that the challenge of adapting to global climate change is fundamentally an ethical one, that it is not simply a matter of adapting our infrastructures and economies to mitigate damage but rather of adapting ourselves to realities of a new global climate. The challenge is to restore our conception of humanity—to understand human flourishing in new ways—in an age in which humanity shapes the basic conditions of the global environment. In the face of what we have unintentionally done to Earth's ecology, who shall we become?

    The contributors examine ways that new realities will require us to revisit and adjust the practice of ecological restoration; the place of ecology in our conception of justice; the form and substance of traditional virtues and vices; and the organizations, scale, and underlying metaphors of important institutions. Topics discussed include historical fidelity in ecological restoration; the application of capability theory to ecology; the questionable ethics of geoengineering; and the cognitive transformation required if we are to “think like a planet.”

    • Hardcover $11.75
    • Paperback $35.00