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Title: Environmental discourse on ethics, society and law : an inquiry from the point of view of Jürgen Habermas's theory of modernity
Author: Lin, Chia-Fan
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1997
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Environmental problems cause people to think and look for change. In this context, the so-called deep environmental discourse emerges in order to address the problem in 'deep' terms. Within it, there are two dominant approaches: the axiological and spiritual approaches. The former commits itself to arguing for an extension of our moral relations to the natural environment, while the latter stresses a need for a reopening for our communication with nature. However, both approaches are accused of naturalism and scientism. In addition, the axiological approach tends inevitably towards a metaphysical mode of thinking, while the spiritual approach is inclined to thinking in terms of myth. The results of these approaches is that the critical potential of the deep environmental discourse is lost. In this project, I apply Heberman's theory of modernity to restore and re-establish the critical potential of the deep environmental discourse. The green ideas of 'intrinsic value of nature' and 'unity with nature' can be reformulated as a postmetaphysical mode of thinking without metaphysical and spiritual implications. The idea of 'reconciliation with nature' can be defused since a comprehensive conception of rationality, i.e., communicative rationality, can replace a restricted conception of rationality, i.e. purposive rationality. Deep thinking is then directed towards a critique of the philosophy of the subject embodied in a form of simple modernity. The normative thrust of the deep environmental discourse is identified with reflexive modernity. Contrary to the spiritual approach, a reconstructed deep position is not opposed to modernity. In addition, in contrast to the axiological approach, a reconstructed position is not confined to simple modernity. Methodologically speaking, the limitation of simple modernity can be analysed in terms of a critique of the philosophy of consciousness by the philosophy of language. In terms of social theory, simple modernity is confined to a one-sided rationalisation resulting in the 'colonisation of systems over the lifeworld'. In terms of legal theory, simple modernity is exhibited in the limited understanding of law in both normative and descriptive perspectives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available