The Idea of Philosophy Versus Eco-Philosophy
Kazimierz Wielki University of Bydgoszcz
January 1, 2009
Problems of Sustainable Development, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 51-59, 2009
This article on environmental philosophy was inspired by a discussion on the latter’s compatibility with the standards in place in academic philosophy. It seeks to consider how environmental philosophy relates to the idea of philosophy as such, electing to do so by reference to one of the best-known systems of environmental philosophy: the concept Henryk Skolimowski dubbed ecophilosophy (eko-filozofia). It is the author’s contention that the latter is a contemporary philosophy in which the core idea of philosophy is being renewed.
This main thesis is developed in the article’s three parts, of which the first deals with the ongoing relationship between the idea and subject of philosophy. Here it is noted that the critical attitude is the one constant element underpinning the idea of philosophy. This attitude entails reservations as to - or simply a lack of full confidence in - the certainties and truths deemed to make up each and every one of history’s concrete forms of rationality. The lack of confidence manifests itself in a refusal to engage in a priori acceptance of any cultural tradition as exhausting the layers of human rationality (in terms of values, cognitive stereotypes or standards determining actions). The second part of the article addresses with the crisis in contemporary philosophy taken to reflect the margin-alization of philosophical thought in today’s Euro-Atlantic culture. A theory as to why this is now being noted is presented and developed, the assertion - in brief - being that such a state of affairs has arisen because the main currents in contemporary philosophy have separated from the idea of philosophy, the currents in question tending to seek philosophy’s conversion into yet another scientific discipline.
The third part of the article then focuses on ecophilosophy as a system aiming to resupply philosophy with the idea of philosophy it has otherwise contrived to lose. Two issues raised here are thus the characterisation of the remaining currents to contemporary philosophy - as a voice of protest against the main direction philosophy adopted in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the characterisation of ecophilosophy as heir to that other style of philosophical reflection wherein the aforementioned criticism remains a powerful feature, at least in relation to today’s most troublesome civilisational and social problems. The methodological background to the article comprises a popular typology of contemporary philosophy identifying the scientistic, the anti-scientistic and the ideological as the three fundamental groups of theories present; as well as a detailing of the sources of philosophical issues that points to those spheres of public life in which universally-accepted solutions are ceasing to be self-evident.
Keywords: environmental philosophy, contemporary philosophy, ecophilosophy, Skolimowski, idea of philosophy, rationality, cultural rationality
JEL Classification: O13, Q20, Q32, Q41, R11, M14
Date posted: October 2, 2009