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Engaging NatureEnvironmentalism and the Political Theory Canon$
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Peter F. Cannavò and Joseph H. Lane Jr.

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028059

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028059.001.0001

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Aristotle: Phusis, Praxis, and the Good

Aristotle: Phusis, Praxis, and the Good

(p.45) 2 Aristotle: Phusis, Praxis, and the Good
Engaging Nature

Özgüç Orhan

The MIT Press

Özgüç Orhan critiques anthropocentric interpretations of Aristotle. Such interpretations often focus on Aristotle’s statement in the Politics that plants and animals were “made” for human use. Orhan puts this statement in its proper context of Aristotle’s discussion of household economics rather than in the context of a more general account of the ends and purposes of nonhuman nature and notes that the anthropocentric sentiment seemingly articulated here is not repeated in Aristotle’s other works. He notes how Aristotle’s “scientific” writing emphasizes the kinship between human beings and other animals. He also suggests that Aristotle’s teleology and his notions of human virtue and flourishing, which put limits on material acquisition, continue to offer a philosophical basis for ecological responsibility. Orhan partly blames our environmental crisis on modernity’s rejection of the Aristotelian conception of nature and challenges the assumption – common among environmentalists – that Aristotelian thought represented a turn away from nature.

Keywords:   Aristotle, The Politics (Aristotle), Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), anthropocentrism, environmental political theory, phusis, eudaimonia, oikonomia, kosmos, praxis

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