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The EnvironmentPhilosophy, Science, and Ethics$
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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017404

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.001.0001

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The Environment: How to Understand It and What to Do about It

The Environment: How to Understand It and What to Do about It

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Environment: How to Understand It and What to Do about It
Source:
The Environment
Author(s):

Katie McShane

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.003.0001

This chapter focuses on the definition of the term “environment” as studied in environmental philosophy. Traditionally, an organism’s environment can be defined as that organism’s surroundings or the interaction between them. This definition consequently includes other human beings, human-built objects, and non-human parts of the natural world. On the other hand, environmental philosophy utilizes a narrower view of the environment, i.e. “the environment simpliciter,” which refers only to certain aspects of the surroundings of human beings. Although environmental philosophy is a recent development, the philosophical study of man’s surroundings has been present throughout the history of philosophy. While early philosophers studied the environment to discover human nature and its place in the cosmic order, contemporary Western philosophers were more concerned with the development and systematization of the sciences. This book addresses inquiries regarding the environment encompassing various areas of contemporary philosophy.

Keywords:   environment, environmental philosophy, the environment simpliciter, human nature, cosmic order

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