ESEP 15:105-123 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00159

Unfurling western notions of nature and Amerindian alternatives

Egleé L. Zent*

Laboratory of Human Ecology, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC) Altos de Pipe, Ado 20632, Venezuela
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This essay presents an overview of the concept of ‘nature’. It provides some reflections on the heterogeneity of notions and values subsumed in the term nature in a portion of the Western tradition (from Ancient Greece-Rome through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment to the present day). The paper explores, in a diachronic, non-comprehensive fashion, the various connotations and conceptions given to the term nature, highlighting the socio-ecological risks that occur when ecological notions are extrapolated worldwide as if they were standard ones. It also reveals that such philosophical plurality is a historical as well as a contemporary phenomenon. The heterogeneity of notions in Western and Amerindian traditions should, ideally, be linked to pragmatic strategies geared toward the construction of improved contemporary environmental ethics.


KEY WORDS: Environmental ethics · Nature-society · Biocultural conservation · Biocultural diversity · Philosophy of science


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Cite this article as: Zent EL (2015) Unfurling western notions of nature and Amerindian alternatives. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 15:105-123. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00159

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