In this book David E. Cooper explores our relationship to nature – to animals, to plants, to natural places – and asks how it can be shaped into an appropriate one which contributes to the good of people’s lives as a whole. Religions and philosophies have much to say about our relationship with nature, and Chinese Daoist philosophy has long been regarded as among those most sympathetic to the natural world. Daoists seek an attunement to the Dao (the Way) which is characterized by a sense of flow (water being a favourite metaphor), spontaneity, non-interference, humility and patience – virtues which contrast with the aggressive and exploitative values which characterize a modern world increasingly subject to economic imperatives.
Like the best of contemporary nature writing, the classic Daoist texts reveal a yearning for convergence with nature, nostalgia for a lost intimacy with the natural world, disillusion with humanity or its products, and a feeling for nature’s mystery. The author explains how these attitudes are rooted in Daoist philosophy and explores their implications for our practical engagement with natural environments. He discusses, too, a number of ethical issues – including hunting, intensive farming, and environmental activism – that reflective people need to address in their efforts to heal our relationship with the Earth.
About the Author
David E. Cooper was Professor of Philosophy at Durham University for many years and has been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Canada, Malta, Sri Lanka and South Africa. His philosophical interests range from environmental ethics to aesthetics, from the philosophy of language to Asian thought, from the history of philosophy to the philosophy of religion. His many books include "Existentialism: A Reconstruction," "World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction," "The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery" and "A Philosophy of Gardens." ...