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On the Irreplaceability of Place

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

I examine a puzzle concerning the role of humans in the appreciation of place that arises in Christoph Rehmann-Sutter's paper in this volume, specifically the problem of the irreplaceability of place. If places are designated as valuable in part because they are irreplaceable, and if any human can appreciate any place, then how can humans ever be part of a place if they are ultimately substitutable as agents who appreciate places? After identifying the puzzle I briefly discuss two possible ways to answerthis problem though the literature on bioregionalism. Two kinds of bioregionalism, liberal bioregionalism (LB) and communitarian bioregionalism (CB) are identified and distinguished. A brief appeal is made to embrace LB for now (which entails avoiding the irreplaceability problem by jettisoning the need to focus on the special qualities of a particular place) and to hold off on CB as a goal down the road which would re-establish the importance of specificity in the value of place.

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Philosophy and Environmental Studies Binghamton University (State University of New York) Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA


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