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Ethics & the Environment, Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 1999

ABSTRACTS

LUC FERRY'S CRITIQUE OF DEEP ECOLOGY, NAZI NATURE PROTECTION LAWS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ANTI-SEMITISM
Susan Power Bratton

Neo-Humanist Luc Ferry (1995) has compared deep ecology's declarations of intrinsic value in nature to the Third Reich's nature protection laws, which prohibit maltreatment of animals having worth in themselves. Ferry's questionable approach fails to document the relationship between Nazi environmentalism and Nazi racism. German high art and mass media historically presented nature as dualistic and portrayed Untermenschen as unnatural or inorganic. Nazi propaganda excluded Jews from nature and identified traditional Jews as cruel to animals. Ferry's idealization of Humanism under reports the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in European thought, including the French Enlightenment.
NARRATIVE, IMAGINATION, AND THE SEARCH FOR INTELLIGIBILITY IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
Roger J.H. King

This essay presents a contextualist defense of the role of narrative and metaphor in the articulation of environmental ethical theories. Both the intelligibility and persuasiveness of ecocentric concepts and arguments presuppose that proponents of these ideas can connect with the narrative and metaphors guiding the expectations and interpretations of their audiences. Too often objectivist presuppositions prevent the full contextualization of environmental ethical arguments. The result is a disembodied environmental discourse with diminished influence on citizens and policy makers. This essay is a pragmatist call for more philosophical attention to locating speakers, audiences, and meanings in more intelligible discursive spaces.
DEMOCRACY AND ECOLOGICAL SOUNDNESS
Jordy Rocheleau

Though the goals of democracy and ecological soundness are largely believed to be necessarily linked, there is sometimes a lack of adequate argument demonstrating this connection. Defining ecological soundness and democracy and showing weaknesses in some typical attempts to link them, I argue that democracy is in fact necessary for ecological improvement. The undemocratic practices of capitalism, ecological discrimination, and global inequality all play key roles in environmental degradation. Drawing on David Schwieckart's (1996) recent argument for Economic Democracy, I defend such a model of democratic socialism as the most ecologically sound political and economic form currently possible.
THEORETICAL VERSUS APPLIED ETHICS: A LOOK AT CYBORGS
Victoria Davion

In this brief comment I will focus on Chris Cuomo's (1998) discussions of theoretical versus applied ethics, and apply this discussion to her suggestion that the cyborg myth, as discussed by Donna Haraway, can be a helpful ecological feminist ideal. Although I agree with Cuomo that some aspects of the cyborg myth might be helpful, I will explore some disturbing aspects of cyborgs. Cuomo is certainly aware of the dangers of the cyborg myth, mentioning many many of them herself. My aim is to fill out a discussion of such dangers by arguing that cyborgs are nothing new. In fact, I shall argue that key figures involved in the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including President Truman, identified with the bomb and bomb-centered technology in a cyborgian manner. Obviously, the kind of cyborg identity that could encourage mass murder of the sort involved in our bombings of Japan, and the cyborg ideal that inspires Cuomo, are very different. However, Cuomo's discussion of theoretical versus applied ethics clearly indicates that before ecological feminists accept the cyborg as a theoretical ideal, we should examine how real cyborgs, if there have in fact been any, have functioned within society. Hence, if the case can be made that those responsible for the devastating bombings of Japan were cyborgs, this fact is crucial for anyone promoting a cyborg ideal of any sort to consider.

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