Nature Ethics

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In Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective, Marti Kheel explores the underlying worldview of "nature ethics," offering an alternative ecofeminist perspective. She focuses on four prominent representatives of holist philosophy: two early conservationists (Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold) and two contemporary philosophers (Holmes Rolston III and transpersonal ecologist Warwick Fox). Kheel argues that in directing their moral allegiance to abstract constructs (e.g., "species," "the ecosystem," or "the transpersonal Self") these influential nature theorists represent a masculinist orientation that devalues concern for individual animals. Seeking to heal the divisions among the seemingly disparate movements and philosophies of feminism, animal advocacy, environmental ethics, and holistic health, Kheel proposes an ecofeminist philosophy that underscores the importance of empathy and care for individual beings as well as larger wholes.

About the Author:
Marti Kheel is a visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union. She is a prominent scholar and activist in ecofeminism, environmental ethics, and animal advocacy

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Editorial Reviews

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Why do so many environmentalists proclaim their love of nature but romanticize hunting and eat meat? Nature Ethics offers significant insight. There is very little that Kheel does not explore; reading Nature Ethics is like taking a fine course at a university. I would buy this book for the section on 'Vegan Practice alone.' Hats off to Marti Kheel and this wonderful book!
Peter Wenz
[This is a] comprehensive and fair-minded account of the contrasting positions, particularly with respect to animals, between ecofeminist nature ethics and the celebrated holistic views of Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Holmes Rolston III, and Warwick Fox. Anyone interested in women’s studies, animal welfare, hunting, vegetarianism, or environmental ethics will find this impressive book helpful and challenging.
Carol J. Adams
Nature Ethics is a major contribution to ecofeminist philosophy, animal liberation, and environmental ethics. Marti Kheel provides an invaluable critique of the ecological position that accepts violence toward individual beings while professing love and respect for the larger natural world.
Rosemary Radford Ruether
Kheel’s book is a ground-breaking contribution to the literature and a must-read for anyone concerned with the links between environmental ethics, animal liberation and feminist critique of male cultural bias.
Greta Gaard
A major figure in ecofeminism, Kheel's original thinking about nature ethics culminates in this sweeping volume. She offers vital insights into the destructive consequences of a detached masculine self-identity, and a path toward the development of a genuinely inclusive nature ethic that respects all living beings.
Agriculture and Human Values
This precise focus and the rigorous way in which she challenges ecophilosophies by scrutinising their attitudes towards individual animals brings the author’s inherent logic out into the open by applying it to individual action. Thus she is able to confront holist philosophers with an ethics of nature from an ecofeminist perspective. I have high regard for the transparency and the truly dialogical spirit in which Kheel carefully, and in a very accommodating way, puts forward her criticism and invites the reader to follow her line of argument, with its clear structure and precise naming of her standpoint and assumptions. Her challenging core thesis that the treatment of individual animals should be the benchmark for any nature ethic and her revelation of the underlying masculinist identity that permeates current concepts make the book a gainful read for feminist scholars, environmental philosophers at the graduate level, as well as activists interested in better understanding the traditions they bring forward.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marti Kheel is a visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union. She is a leading scholar and activist in ecofeminism, environmental ethics and animal advocacy. Her articles have been widely published in anthologies, such as Environmental Ethics; Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism; Ecofeminism: Women, Animals and Nature; Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations; and Food for Thought: The Debate over Eating Meat. Her personal website is

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Table of Contents

Foreword     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Finding a Niche for All Animals in Nature Ethics     1
Masculine Identity: Born Again "Man"     35
Origins of the Conservation Movement: Preserving Manhood     69
Thinking Like a Mountain or Thinking Like a "Man"?     109
The Ecophilosophy of Holmes Rolston III     137
The Transpersonal Ecology of Warwick Fox     163
Ecofeminist Holist Philosophy     207
Bibliography     275
Index     313
About the Author     339
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