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An Introduction to Places

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This paper draws attention to the significance of the concepts used in ecological ethics to describe nature and its parts. One of those concepts is 'place'. Place is often used to appreciate the distinct dignity of a natural situation. The meaning of that concept is explained and analysed. Four elements are proposed: (i) Places have to be seen with a special subjective inclination; (ii) places are perceived as meaningful and the relation towards them is of the hermeneutic type; (iii) places appear as open textures of relationships that cannot be demarcated; (iv) places are described from within and have centres. The perception of observers lets them participate. For observers involved in the perception of places (in this sense), responsibility for the place and its inhabitants is a direct relationship of care.

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin Arbeitsstelle für Bioethik Schönbeinstraβe 20, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland

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