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Philosophy of environment

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Title: Philosophy of environment  
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Subject: Philosophy of science, Engineering, Environmental philosophy, Environment, Interdisciplinary peer review
Collection: Environment, Environmental Philosophy, Ethics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Philosophy of environment

The philosophy of environment is a trend of free thought located between philosophy, epistemology and anthropology. It combines various schools of philosophy such as humanist ecology, philosophy of evolution and environmental humanism. It is also meant to be a cultural trend having an influence in society.


  • Environment and evolution 1
  • Humanist ecology (environmental humanism) 2
  • Evolution and its relativisation 3
  • Bibliography 4

Environment and evolution

The philosophical current indicated under the name philosophy of evolution has been developed since the 1970s by Humanist Ecology (also called Environmental or Evolutive Humanism) and by the living being in its universal environment, analysed through its Human cultural expression.

This trend is unique to the quasi religious Evolutionist Humanism advocated by Julian Huxley, notably during the founders congress of the IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union) in 1952.

Further than the basic species in its universal environment, and the key to a possibly significant interactive modification, in the long term, of this environment. It is principally a prospective step.

This cultural trend seems to have emerged because the concept of progressive permanent adaptation, which is no longer appreciated only by its scientific aspects, also took a metaphysical dimension (in a sense of research of the essence of the human), which consequently encourages analysis of human evolution, an agent which potentially modifies our environment, in philosophical terms. The possibilities and the risks of this evolution, non-deterministic because of its integration into a dynamic complex living system, gives the human existence and destiny a new sense. And to be involved in such a cogitation opens a philosophical way in which curious minds could not miss advancing sooner or later, a way which rests on a regenerated metaphysics, encouraging us to take back in an evolutive way Aristoteles original concept of physis and its substance, and to search with modern conceptual tools the essence and the sense of our life.

Humanist ecology (environmental humanism)

Supported by the philosophy of evolution, this international emerging concept has expressed since the 1970s an evolutive humanism, extending the naturalist tradition of ancient Greek philosophers. Humanist ecology encourages us to better understand and situate the place and the destiny of humanity in its environment in permanent evolution. Human destiny is put in perspective in a universal context where many things remain to be learned. Because it encourages every human in a responsibility in front of his conscience, humanist ecology can be defined too as a will of ethical responsibility of civilized humanity, favouring its permanent improvement and its happiness, in useful interaction with its evolutive environment, in a beneficial way as much for a human being particularly as for mankind in general, and in common symbiosis with their local and global bioscape in evolution. That serves to optimize human society in its own interactions and in its interactions with its bioscape, notably by preserving the planetary equilibrium of the Earth. This solidarity of all of mankind is necessary to preserve its environment and its best development in this environment inspired a particular political expression of humanist ecology, taken up notably by Statesmen such as Jacques Chirac (France) or Mohammed VI (Morocco) in the main meetings of the United Nations.

Evolution and its relativisation

Humanist ecology naturally favours the permanent adaptation and the best possible development of humanity, and of the human being, in an uncertain universal environment in permanent evolution, with a mind open enough to consider all the possibilities. In humanist ecological comprehension, it is vain to want to freeze an arbitrary cultural schemata and choose the apparent equilibrium and the supposed future of one moment of evolution. A permanent evolutive adaptation is necessary, as much biologically as mentally. That requires relativity and a caution in the analysis. According to this concept, for the human mind, any representation belongs to the domain of belief, considering the uncertainty of the relation of man to the universe, and the natural imperfection of his senses to represent his environment and his interactions with this environment; the reality perceived by Man being only one representation of reality, particular in mankind. Humanist ecology admits this relativized relation with belief but refutes any final and locking form, knowing that no truth can be final for the human mind without upsetting its natural evolutive necessity. This school of thought accepts belief in the present, for want of anything better, but dictates that you must take care to verify and update beliefs.


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