Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought

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Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought provides an inclusive and balanced survey of the major issues debated by Western environmentalists over the last three decades. Peter Hay examines issues in philosophy, religion, politics, and economics as presented or criticized by environmentalists. Topics covered include the roots of environmental philosophy; the development of ecophilosophy, deep ecology, and ecofeminism; how religion relates to environmental values; environmentalists’ writings on science and epistemology; animal liberation; the role of place; the economic dimensions of environmental thought; environmental writing in various political traditions; and "green" writers’ critiques of political movements. The work draws from the disciplines of philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies. Clearly and accessibly written and including a comprehensive bibliography, Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought is well suited both as a handbook and guide to the large environmental literature and as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental studies

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews


"...a welcome and very timely book. In a single volume Hay... explores the philosophical and intellectual foundations and composition of modern, western environmentalism." —Environment

From the Publisher
"...a welcome and very timely book. In a single volume Hay... explores the philosophical and intellectual foundations and composition of modern, western environmentalism." —Environment
Professor Hay (environmental studies, U. of Tasmania) must have been a patient and long-time follower of environmental debate over the last 35 years to have masterfully untangled the myriad and subtle contentions and changes of heart in ecophilosophy, ecofeminism, ecoreligiosity and spirituality, green critiques of science, green politics, philosophies of place, and ecology's relationship to democracy and postmodernism. Hay's Tasmanian provenance seems less weakness than strength since he provides a more international perspective on environmentalism that includes Australia, North America, and Europe. Not only geographically wide-ranging, Hay is ideologically inclusive, bringing into the environmental forum <-->without apology or pride<-- >discussions among animal rightists and their critics, and assertions that environmental concern is partially pre-rational. Reading Hay's environmental tome is likely to introduce even seasoned readers to new names (Deborah Slicer, John Rodman, Warwick Fox, Stephen Clark, Ariel Salleh) and so, new arguments. Suitable as a primary or secondary text for an advanced undergraduate or graduate class in environmental thought. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253340535
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Hay, Reader in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania, is a well known Australian environmental thinker. He was founding convener of the Ecopolitics Association of Australasia and in 1989-90 was Senior Political Advisor to Australia's Minister for Environment and Planning during Tasmania's historic Labor-Green Accord government. His research interests include environmental thought, ecopolitics, the politics of biodiversity, and the cultural, social, economic, and environmental viability of small islands.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

1. The Ecological Impulse
2. Ecophilosophy
3. Ecofeminism
4. Religion, Spirituality, and the Green Movement
5. Green Critiques of Science and Knowledge
6. Reclaiming Place: Seeking an Authentic Ground for Being
7. Green Political Thought: The Authoritarian and Conservative Traditions
8. Environmental Liberalisms: Green Thought Meets the Dismal Science
9. Green Political Thought: The Socialist Traditions
10. Seeking Homo Ecologicus: Ecology, Democracy, Postmodernism
Thoughts by Way of Conclusion: The Tenacity of Environmentalism

Indiana University Press

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