Moral Habitat: Ethos and Agency for the Sake of Earth by Nancie Erhard

By Nancie Erhard

Ethical Habitat explores how our ethical imaginations and ethical norms were formed by way of or even cocreated with Earth in assorted biotic groups. Weaving jointly technological know-how and faith with indigenous and womanist traditions, Nancie Erhard makes use of examples from various resources, together with post-Cartesian technology, the previous testomony, and the Mi´kmaq tribe of jap Canada. She demonstrates how each one portrays the agency—including the ethical agency—of the flora and fauna. From this cross-cultural method, she recasts the query of ways we conceive of people as ethical brokers. whereas written for “the sake of Earth,” this thought-provoking ebook is going well past the problem of ecology to teach the contribution that such an strategy could make to pluralist ethics on a number well timed social matters.

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Given that such ancient schemes and habits of thought undergirded the European and neo-European constructions of “race”68—with all the evils of such constructions visited on bodies, minds, souls—it may seem foolhardy if not repugnant to broach the idea of environmental influence on a people, especially its moral networks. I am not going to make the kind of categorical statements that the ancients and medievalists, not to mention modernists, made with such seeming ease. But here, as with reductive gene theories, we have an intuitive sense that there is some link between climate, topography, biota, and human ways of life and 30 Moral Habitat character—or Hippocrates would never have found the audience he did, even if his ideas served powerful interests.

He does as he is told, but when he has completed his task, nothing remains of his wife. 20 Upon his return in the following autumn, he finds the place full of stalks of corn with hair (silks) that remind him of his wife’s. There is no doubt in the narrative that the corn is his wife regenerated, and through continued cultivation, present. In both this agricultural narrative and the hunting ethos, there is a recognition that death is required for the sustenance of life, a death that may entail violence: the infliction of a mortal wound, the destruction of trees, fire, dismembering a body, and so forth.

64 What cultures do, according to Midgley, is coordinate, fix, and develop systems of values rather than create values. ”65 The next question is whether cultures, beyond being a product of human cognitive capacities and social nature developed through intercourse with a world of kindred beings, and having being granted by Earth a basic repertoire of wants that form the core of our notions of “good,” Ethos as Moral Habitat 29 then proceed to act wholly arbitrarily and independent of this living world as they group, reflect, guide, channel, and develop wants into systems of values.

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