A Notion of “Immanent Transcendence” and Its Feasibility in Environmental Ethics

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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  • 1 Sessional Lecturer at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, 170 St. George St., 3rd A. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R2M8;, Email:
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The focus of this paper is twofold. The main part is dedicated to an exploration of a possible foundation for a notion of “immanent transcendence” in environmental philosophy. As a foil to constructivist and relativist positions on “nature” as human creation/projection, I discuss nature as a self-emerging process larger than—hence transcendent of—us that is not linked to the supernatural (either religious transcendent power or “higher” metaphysical reality), by considering and building on a phenomenological account of the lived experience of nature, including an acknowledgment of the otherness of nature. This basis of an “immanent transcendence,” though distinct from religious transcendence, might nonetheless be categorized as a form of spirituality, and can be linked to the emergent “spiritual, but not religious” selfidentifi cation. In the final part, having established this framework, I consider its feasibility as a basis for environmental action and ethics.

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