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Can You Teach Environmental Philosophy Without Being an Environmentalist?

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The orthodox conception of environmental philosophy is of an applied or practical philosophical discipline in the service of the ethical, social and political aims of the environmental movement. In this essay I show that there is a coherent alternative conception of the subject matter of environmental philosophy—what I call an "ecological" conception—that can be defined independently of environmentalist concerns. I argue that, as a framework for advancing both the theoretical and applied aims of environmental philosophy, the ecological conception of environmental philosophy has a number of advantages over the orthodox conception. I conclude with some remarks on the implications of adopting the ecological conception for teaching courses in environmental philosophy.

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