The Struggle for Environmental Philosophy in Australia

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

Australian settler philosophy needs to create the basis for two important cultural dialogues, with the philosophy of Aboriginal people on the one hand, and with the land the settler way of life is destroying on the other. Through these interconnected dialogues we might begin the process of resolving in a positive way the unhappy anxieties surrounding Australian identity. Mainstream Australian academic philosophy has certainly not provided fertile ground for such dialogues, and its dominant forms could hardly be further away from Australian indigenous philosophies or from land-sensitive forms of environmental philosophy. It is a paradox that in a continent where Australian Aboriginal people have given land spirituality what is perhaps the world's most powerful and integrated development, settler philosophy contrives to provide what is probably the world's strongest dismissal of other ways to think about the land than those legitimated by western reductionism and rationalism. This paradox, I suggest, can be explained through understanding the ascendancy of ex-colonial masculinity in Australian culture and academic philosophy.

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