Relating to Nature: Deep Ecology or Ecofeminism?

  • Freya Mathews


Two of our most seminal philosophies of Nature, deep ecology and ecofeminism, offer alternative accounts of our relationship with the natural world. Deep ecology tends to take a basically holistic view of Nature—its image of the natural world is that of a field-like whole of which we and other ‘individuals’ are parts. Ecofeminists, in contrast, tend to portray the natural world as a community of beings, related, in the manner of a family, but nevertheless distinct. Although the tension between these two theories cannot be resolved by merely cutting and pasting them together, I think that a dialectical reconciliation of their respective views of Nature can be achieved, though this may result in an irreducibly ambivalent ecological ethic. Such ambivalence may in fact be precisely what an adequate understanding of the ecological structure of reality requires.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freya Mathews
    • 1
  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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