The Culture of Extinction: Toward a Philosophy of Deep Ecology / Edition 1

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Global warming, air and water pollution, ozone-layer depletion, species extinction—these are all the results of what philosopher Frederic L. Bender calls our "culture of extinction." In this probing analysis of the basic cultural assumptions and historical factors that have led to the current dire ecological situation, Bender argues that our only chance of avoiding imminent disaster is to recognize and then change the destructive trends in contemporary culture that will surely be our undoing if left unchecked.

Bender criticizes many of industrial society's basic assumptions, for example, that we humans are superior to animals, that the Bible justifies our dominion over the Earth, or that we are evolution's highest products. He also reveals the underlying connections between mechanistic science and Earth's devastation under capitalism, and he points out that major modernist philosophies, from Bacon and Descartes to 20th-century empiricism, are in the service of the culture of extinction.

Assessing the major trends within contemporary environmentalism, he offers a critical, yet sympathetic, analysis of deep ecology and argues for its rigorous and more inclusive reformulation.
Finally, Bender explores deep ecology's affinities with the nondualist worldviews found, for example, in East Asian and Buddhist philosophy, in Native American spirituality, and in Spinoza's philosophy. In conclusion, he offers a way of integrating many insights of the different environmentalist movements and discusses practical steps to put the culture of extinction behind us.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591020554
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 455
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederic L. Bender (Colorado Springs, CO) is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and is the editor of The Communist Manifesto: A Norton Critical Edition, The Betrayal of Marx, and Karl Marx: The Essential Writings.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Eating the Snake's Eggs 15
Pt. 1 The Culture of Extinction
1 Ecocide! 29
2 Anthropocentrism and Human Chauvinism: A Critical Analysis 69
3 The Old Ways: Roots of Wisdom and Transformation 93
Pt. 2 The Lies of Millennia: How Humans Became Ecocidal
4 Neolithic Horticulture and the Transition to Agriculture 125
5 Patriarchy, Religion, and Early Greek Philosophy 141
6 Nature-Religion and Anthropocentrism in the Hebrew Bible 171
7 Early Christian Antinaturalism 187
8 Modernity: The Culture of Extinction's Golden Age 209
9 Modernism: Legitimation of Capitalism, Science, and Philosophy 231
10 Modern Nihilism 267
Pt. 3 "Faithful to the Earth"
11 American Reform Environmentalism 307
12 Updating Malthus Ecologically 321
13 Radical Ecology 339
14 The Gaia Hypothesis: Nondualism in Contemporary Science 381
15 Deep Ecology 397
16 Ecosophy and Arne Naess's Ecosophy-T 419
17 Convergent Paths to Deep Ecology 431
Conclusion: On Not Eating the Snake's Eggs 445
Works Cited 451
Index 471
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