New Philosophy

Environmental Philosophy

What is the distinction between deep and shallow ecology?

According to Arne Naess (1912–), shallow ecology is concern of affluent Westerners for their own clean air and water, abundant resources, and beautiful scenery. Deep ecology, by contrast, is based on biospheric egalitarianism, or the inherent value to all natural beings of their own existence, shared equally by them all.

Naess envisioned the world as a “total-field” or “biospherical net” in which individual organisms are related to the whole of their environments. As individuals, human beings, for example, are mere “knots” in the net and ought to forgo some of their preoccupation with their own individual existence and selfish interests.


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