An Environmental Cosmology

By Joseph Grange

Subjects: Environmental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791433485, 272 pages, May 1997
Hardcover : 9780791433478, 272 pages, May 1997

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Table of contents



Part One. Environmental Cosmology

Chapter One: The Cosmological Method

The Speculative Matrix

The Environmental Hypothesis

Building a Scheme of Environmental Categories

A Process Ever in Formation

Chapter Two: The Structures of Environmental Passage

Structure and Value

Normative Measure

Three Levels of Participation

Measuring the Environment

Chapter Three: A World of Feelings

The Dynamics of Environmental Value

Four Levels of Environmental Order

Environmental Moods

A Schema of Ideal Environmental Values

Chapter Four: The Human Body and Its Environmental Field

Causal Efficacy and the Legacy of the Past

Sense Perception and the Dazzle of the Senses

Symbolic Reference

Symbolic Reference and Environmental Ideals

Part Two. Nature

Chapter Five: Natural Space

The Inscape of Natural Space

The Patterns of Natural Space

The Symbolic Perception of Natural Space

The Value of Natural Space

Chapter Six: Natural Time

The Inscape of Natural Time

The Patterns of Natural Time

The Symbolic Perception of Natural Time

The Value of Natural Time

Chapter Seven: The Arrival of Life

The Inscape of Life

The Patterns of Life

The Sacred Depths of Life

The Value of Life

Chapter Eight: The Goodness of Nature

The Primacy of Aesthetics

The Principle of Plenitude

The Harmony of the One and the Many

The Good, the Fair, and the Fitting

Part Three. An Ethical Vision

Chapter Nine: Types of Environmental Ethics/A Dialectical Exchange

Three Traditions

Kohak's Phenomenological Moral Sense

Deep Ecology

The Ecocentric Model

The Biocentric Model

The Natural Humanism of Holmes Rolston

Postmodern Naturalism

Chapter Ten: A Normative Environmental Ethics

Cosmology and Moral Vision

Norms and Consciousness

Norms for Intrinsic Natural Value

Types of Instrumental Value

A Case Study

Respecting Value

Chapter Eleven: Nature, History, and Technology

Heidegger's History of Being

Whitehead's Understanding of Technology

Phusis, Techne, and the New

From Conflict to Contrast

Chapter Twelve: Foundational Ecology

Aesthetic Sensibility

Strength of Mind

A Respectful Will

Ecological Praxis




Provides a set of normative measure sto assess the value of nature and proposes the new discipline of foundational ecology as a response to environmental crisis.


A breakthrough analysis of our environmental crisis, this book offers the insights of thinkers such as Plato, Lao-Tzu, Spinoza, and Whitehead to construct a set of concrete measures to estimate the value of nature. Application of these standards leads to the formation of the discipline of Foundational Ecology as the most effective educational tool for dealing with the next century's environmental crises. The real value of environmental processes comes alive through this systematic philosophy of nature. By offering a cultural critique of our idea of nature, Grange sets the environmental agenda for the next century.

Joseph Grange is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine, Portland.


"This is a brilliant work that illustrates one of its central categories, 'depth,' in its own construction. First, it presents an original and massively convincing argument that the philosophical problem of our time is not recovery of forgotten Being, as Heidegger argued, but rather the encounter with novelty in ways that overwhelm most Western philosophy. The second thing I like about this book is that the topic through which the first point is argued is ecology, in the sense of human culture relating to its environment. The philosophical cosmology Grange provides prepares the way for a simply breathtaking review and critique of major positions in ecological ethics. The third thing I like is the cosmology itself. Grange draws his inspiration from Whitehead, and the points that he makes constitute a new and fruitful reinterpretation of Whitehead himself. The fourth thing I like is that the book demonstrates that there is now a fairly wide circle of philosphers at home in speculative metaphysics and its connections with ethics and social theory—a group influenced in some way by Whitehead—and it shows that there is a real alternative to analytic philosophy and continental philosophy, one that comes out of the American tradition. A fifth strength of the book is the natural progression of its argument. It lays out a speculative system in rhetorically clear and evocative terms, treating the technical matters with precision but also with metaphoric richness. " — Robert Cummings Neville, Boston University

"Of all the works in ecology and environmental philosophy that I have read, this is far and away the most interesting. To speak more accurately of Grange's book, I found it fascinating, revelatory, and, above all, fruitful. His reflections provide novel stimuli, both to imagination and to action. " — David L. Hall, The University of Texas, El Paso