Martin Buber's ecophenomenology: unturned ground in environmental ethics

Fairweather, Rory Edward (2013) Martin Buber's ecophenomenology: unturned ground in environmental ethics. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In this thesis I set out and defend a new form of ecophenomenology and environmental ethics based on Martin Buber’s dialogical philosophy. Buberian ecophenomenology is shown to be superior to established schools of ecophenomenology which are influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.

In the first chapter I present a number of Husserl’s relevant ideas and discuss the Husserlian ecophenomenologies of Charles Brown and Erazim Kohák. While I am generally in support of Husserlian anti-naturalism, and Kohák’s discussion of the interplay between expectations and experiences is interesting, there is little else that Kohák and Brown argue for which I agree with. Most of the problems can be traced back to flaws within the Husserlian roots.

In the second chapter I explore aspects of Heidegger’s philosophy, particularly his anti-modernism, notion of dwelling, and account of technology. I am favourably inclined towards much of his position, especially his conviction that modern technology reveals the world as ‘standing reserve’. Michael Zimmerman highlights similarities between Heidegger and deep ecology and goes to some length to distance himself from the fascistic elements of Heidegger’s philosophy. While Zimmerman improves some elements of Heidegger, flaws remain within this school such as Heidegger’s rejection of value-thinking, and Zimmerman’s choice to downplay the effect had by economic and social structures on our relationship with nature.

Finally, I discuss a number of Buber’s concepts from across his career. Unlike Husserl or Heidegger, Buber places absolute emphasis on our relationship with Others (God, people, and nature) as determinate of our mode of existence. Authentic existence requires that we relate to the Other with compassion, with an inclusive and open attitude. Only through this can we transcend our isolation and live with full meaning. I defend Buber’s dialogical pluralist ethics, and his original position that the relationship reveals to us the ethical behaviour. Though there are some weaknesses to his account, Buber shows that a strong ecophenomenology must take the ontological and ethical significance of relationship modes seriously.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Buber, ecophenomenology, existentialism, environmental ethics, Heidegger, Husserl
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Precurrent Departments > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Supervisor's Name: Hanscomb, Dr. Stuart R. and Franks, Dr. Benjamin
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mr Rory E. Fairweather
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4104
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2013 14:57
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 13:02

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