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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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Thinking like a Mall

Thinking like a Mall

(p.129) 5 Thinking like a Mall
Thinking like a Mall

Steven Vogel

The MIT Press

The sad story is told of the City Center Mall in Columbus, Ohio, which was built in 1989 and was highly successful for more than a decade but then lost favor with the public, failed, and was demolished. Leopold said we should learn to think like a mountain, but thinking like a mall raises the question of why mountains or wolves seem morally considerable while buildings don’t. The mall had a life story, had goals, depended on natural forces for its existence, had a “good of its own.” It was independent of human intention – shown above all by the fact that it failed, which was surely not its builders’ intention. Environmental philosophers give too little respect to artifacts, whose very existence undercuts the distinction between humans and “nature.” We should acknowledge the artifactuality of the environment and our responsibility (causal and moral) for it, instead of calling it nature.

Keywords:   City Center Mall (Columbus, OH), Shopping malls, Aldo Leopold, thinking like a mountain, moral considerability, artifacts, built environment, nature/human dualism

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