Sustainability has become a compelling topic of domestic and international debate as the world searches for effective solutions to accumulating ecological problems. In Return to Nature? An Ecological Counterhistory, Fred Dallmayr demonstrates how nature has been marginalized, colonized, and abused in the modern era. Although nature was regarded as a matrix that encompassed all beings in premodern and classical thought, modern Western thinkers tend to disregard this original unity, essentially exiling nature from human life. By means of a philosophical counterhistory leading from Spinoza to Dewey and beyond, the book traces successive efforts to correct this tendency. Grounding his writing in a holistic relationism that reconnects humanity with ecology, Dallmayr pleads for the reintroduction of nature into contemporary philosophical discussion and sociopolitical practice.
Return to Nature? unites learning, intelligence, sensibility, and moral passion to offer a multifaceted history of philosophy with regard to our place in the natural world. Dallmayr's visionary writings provide an informed foundation for environmental policy and represent an impassioned call to reclaim nature in our everyday lives.
"Dallmayr is one of the leading political thinkers in the world whose work brings together learning, intelligence, sensibility and moral passion." -- Edward Andrew, author of Patrons of Enlightenment
"The question of humanity's relation to the forces of nature is one that has preoccupied philosophers since the beginning of the discipline. Return to Nature? offers a combined historical review of the issues at stake and an imaginative perspective on how best to address them. This is precisely the kind of book that one has come to expect from Professor Dallmayr's seasoned scholarship." -- Calvin O. Schrag, George Ade Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritas, Purdue University
"With dazzling erudition and the philosophical profundity one has come to associate with him, Fred Dallmayr, through a cultural-historical detour, presents a philosophical anthropology that lays out the complex relationships between the human, the natural and the divine. This is an in-depth philosophical perspective on our ecological crisis, which has radical cultural and political implications. An invaluable addition to the literature about our environmental predicament." -- Joseph Prabhu, coeditor of Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges
"Dallmayr seeks a cohesive thread and a philosophical counterhistory, to interrupt the human pattern of marginalizing and abusing the natural world." -- ForeWord
"Provides a solid 'counterhistory' of modern philosophy, in which he presents somewhat neglected ideas from thinkers who offer different, more holistic visions of the human/nature relationship." -- Choice