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Title: The liberal self and the challenges of nature
Author: Bernardini , Marco
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 9245
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2015
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The thesis analyses the challenges that liberal theory, and in particular the liberal characterization of the self, encounters when dealing with nature. The thesis argues that liberal theory is ultimately unable to deal with the challenges of nature because of the characterization of the self that it embraces. In order to understand how liberal theory conceptualizes and deals with the challenges of nature, the thesis critically engages with the ’green liberal’ theories elaborated by Marcel Wissenburg, Brian Baxter and Simon Hailwood. The main goal of each of these theories, like any other liberal theory, is to ensure the survival and flourishing of the liberal self and community thereof. It is argued that the stratagem each of these theories adopts to achieve this goal in the context of dealing with nature and its challenges is to constitute nature as an imperfect approximation of the liberal self. This theoretical move would offer some form of protection to at least some parts of nature while at the same time ensuring that a more general instrumentalization of nature can continue undisturbed. The stratagem these theories implement is far from flawless. Quite the contrary. It is responsible for the creation of a number of destabilizing tensions within the liberal conceptualization of the self that could lead to its demise. At the same time, these tensions also offer the opportunity for alternative conceptualizations the self to be forged. The thesis will examine a number of such alternative conceptualizations of the self. It will conclude by discussing the ’allentic self’ - an original contribution of the thesis. It will be argued that whereas other conceptualizations of the self are ultimately unsatisfactory, the ’allentic self’ is able to resolve the aforementioned tensions and promote care, respect, gratitude, humility towards nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available