Benjamin Hale, "The Wild and the Wicked: On Nature and Human Nature" (MIT Press, 2016)


Many environmentalists approach the problem of motivating environmentally friendly behavior from the perspective that nature is good and that we ought to act so as to maximize the good environmental consequences of our actions and minimize the bad ones. An environmental activist turned academic philosopher, Benjamin Hale argues against this dominant consequentialist approach towards environmentalism in favor of a Kantian view. In The Wild and the Wicked: On Nature and Human Nature (MIT Press, 2016), Hale, who is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy at the University of Colorado-Boulder, argues that we ought to act in environmentally friendly ways because it is the right thing to do. On his view, environmentally friendly action is motivated by reflecting on our reasons for acting, guided by a concern that our actions be acceptable to a wide range of parties. In this accessible discussion intended for a wide audience, Hale provides a fresh philosophical grounding for thinking about human action and inaction regarding the environment.

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Carrie Figdor

Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.

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