© 2019

Ecology and Justice—Citizenship in Biotic Communities


Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 19)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. The History of Ecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David R. Keller
      Pages 3-6
  3. The Metaphysics of Ecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. David R. Keller
      Pages 45-69
    3. David R. Keller
      Pages 71-88
    4. David R. Keller
      Pages 89-108
  4. The Epistemology of Ecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 109-109
    2. David R. Keller
      Pages 111-131
  5. The Normativity of Ecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-161
    2. David R. Keller
      Pages 163-181
    3. David R. Keller
      Pages 183-210
    4. Kirk Robinson
      Pages 211-224

About this book


This is the first book to outline a basic philosophy of ecology using the standard categories of academic philosophy: metaphysics, axiology, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and political philosophy. The problems of global justice invariably involve ecological factors. Yet the science of ecology is itself imbued with philosophical questions. Therefore, studies in ecological justice, the sub-discipline of global justice that relates to the interaction of human and natural systems, should be preceded by the study of the philosophy of ecology. This book enables the reader to access a philosophy of ecology and shows how this philosophy is inherently normative and provides tools for securing ecological justice. The moral philosophy of ecology directly addresses the root cause of ecological and environmental injustice:  the violation of fundamental human rights caused by the inequitable distribution of the benefits (economies) and costs (diseconomies) of industrialism. Philosophy of ecology thus has implications for human rights, pollution, poverty, unequal access to resources, sustainability, consumerism, land use, biodiversity, industrialization, energy policy, and other issues of social and global justice. This book offers an historical and interdisciplinary exegesis. The analysis is situated in the context of the Western intellectual tradition, and includes great thinkers in the history of ecological thinking in the West from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.​  

Keller asks the big questions and surveys answers with remarkable detail.  Here is an insightful analysis of contemporary, classical, and ancient thought, alike in the ecological sciences, the humanities, and economics, the roots and fruits of our concepts of nature and of being in the world.  Keller is unexcelled in bridging the is/ought gap, bridging nature and culture, and in celebrating the richness of life, its pattern, process, and creativity on our wonderland Earth.

Holmes Rolston, III
University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University
Author of A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth (2012)

Mentored by renowned ecologist Frank Golley and renowned philosopher Frederick Ferré, David Keller is well prepared to provide a deep history and a sweeping synthesis of the "idea of ecology"—including the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical aspects of that idea, as well as the scientific. 

J. Baird Callicott
University Distinguished Research Professor, University of North Texas
Author of Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic (2013)


Arcadianism Beauty in Nature Ecology and Global Justice Environmental Justice Environmental Science and Environmental Justice Ethics for Environmental Justice Great Chain of Being History of Ecological Thinking Industrial Political Economy Justice and the Environment Metaphysics of Ecology Nature as Machine Normative Ecology Ontological Interconnectedness Organisms as Machines Philosophy and Ecology Political Economy and Ecology Scientific Ecology Teleonomy and Teleomaty

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.(Deceased)Salt Lake CityUSA

About the authors

David R. Keller is deceased. He was Professor of Philosophy, University Professor of Environmental Studies, and Director Emeritus of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University.

Bibliographic information