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Thinking like a MallEnvironmental Philosophy after the End of Nature$
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Steven Vogel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029100

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029100.001.0001

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The Nature of Artifacts

The Nature of Artifacts

(p.95) 4 The Nature of Artifacts
Thinking like a Mall

Steven Vogel

The MIT Press

Environmental restoration projects have been criticized by some (e.g. Katz) on the grounds that restored environments are no longer “natural,” but are rather anthropocentric “artifacts.” Nature for Katz is a realm independent of human intention, while artifacts are built for human use and have “no nature of their own.” But the relation between artifacts and intention is more complex than this. A restored landscape can be “wild” in the sense that processes are at work in it that no human planned or even knows about. The latter, further, is true of all artifacts, and of all building. To say humans build the environment is not to say they control it or are reflected in it; it’s still wild. Rather than interpreting nature in terms of difference, as some continental environmental thinkers do, the (materialist) account proposed here sees nature and difference both as moments in practice.

Keywords:   environmental restoration, Eric Katz, Robert Elliot, nature/human dualism, artifacts, naturalness, wildness, difference, continental philosophy of nature, practice

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