Material and More-than-Material Considerations

  • Neil H. Kessler
Part of the AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series book series (AESS)


When assuming the possibility of a complementary, material and more-than-material relational ontology, various material facets of experience can actually work to support notions of ontologically irreducible more-than-material elements. In addition, by expunging human/nature dualisms, more-than-material evidence can also be gathered directly via Peircian shared feelings, poetic knowledge and personal acquaintance knowledge as detailed in the previous chapter. Lastly, more-than-material relational elements such as beauty, meaning, and the capacity to astonish are generally taken by modern theorists not to exist in relational participants or the relational space between them. Instead, they are thought to be post hoc concepts created by human or human-like participants in response to material relational conditions. This is erroneous, and such qualities should be taken to be more-than-material ontological elements irreducible to the material—ones that can be inherent in relational participants and/or the relationships themselves.


More-than-material ontology Evidence for more-than-material Capacity to astonish Human/nature dualism Meaning in nature Beauty in nature 


  1. Amaze. (2018, June). Oxford English dictionary online. Retrieved from
  2. Bateson, M., Desire, S., Gartside, S. E., & Wright, G. A. (2011). Agitated honeybees exhibit pessimistic cognitive biases. Current Biology, 21(12), 1070–1073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chawla, L., & Cushing, D. F. (2007). Education for strategic environmental behavior. Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 437–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Freedman, J. (2007, January 26). The physics of emotion: Candace pert on feeling go(o)d. Retrieved from
  5. Hess, A., Hayes, R. O., & Tempelis, C. (1968). The use of the forage ratio technique in mosquito host preference studies. Mosquito News, 28(3), 386–389.Google Scholar
  6. James, W. (1907). Pragmatism: A new name for some old ways of thinking. New York: Longman, Green, and Co..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Noddings, N. (1984). Caring: A feminine approach to ethics & moral education. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective neuroscience: The foundations of human and animal emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Peirce, C. S. (1960). Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (C. Hartshorne, P. Weiss, & A. W. Burks, Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Pert, C. B. (2006). Everything you need to know to feel go(o)d. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc..Google Scholar
  11. Ramachandran, V. S., Blakeslee, S., & Sacks, O. W. (1998). Phantoms in the brain: Probing the mysteries of the human mind. New York: Quill.Google Scholar
  12. Rollin, B. E. (1990). How the animals lost their minds: Animal mentation and scientific ideology. In M. Bekoff & D. Jamieson (Eds.), Interpretation and explanation in the study of animal behavior (pp. 375–393). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  13. Sheets-Johnstone, M. (2011). The primacy of movement. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stone, A. A., Turkaan, J. S., Bachrach, C. A., Jobe, J. B., Kurtzman, H. S., & Cain, V. S. (Eds.). (2000). The science of self-report: Implications for research and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.Google Scholar
  15. Taylor, J. S. (1998). Poetic knowledge: The recovery of education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  16. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Stress and your health fact sheet. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil H. Kessler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations