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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

The ideal of an ecological community uniting humans to the earth is an important normative ideal in environmental ethics. In this paper I will briefly look at one of the more popular stories that provides the philosophical underpinnings for this ideal. This is the story told by Baird Callicott, through his interpretation of Leopold's land ethic. In the critical portion of this essay, I point to problems with this account. The goal is not to prove this story false, but to indicate its inadequacies. In the constructive portion, I will discuss the philosophical underpinnings for an alternative story for realizing the hoped-for ecological community from the perspective of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This alternative story relies on an account of moral agency found in the narrative ethics of Alasdair MacIntrye. But it also reclaims neglected insights from Josiah Royce. In this account a community narrative is required that formed through a dialogue between the scientifically informed idea of the ecological community and the Judeo-Christian narrative of creation.


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