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Ecocritics and EcoskepticsA Humanist Reading of Recent French Ecofiction$
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Jonathan F. Krell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622058

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622058.001.0001

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Introduction The Fundamental Debate: Michel Serres the Ecocritic vs. Luc Ferry the Ecoskeptic

Introduction The Fundamental Debate: Michel Serres the Ecocritic vs. Luc Ferry the Ecoskeptic

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Fundamental Debate: Michel Serres the Ecocritic vs. Luc Ferry the Ecoskeptic
Source:
Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics
Author(s):

Jonathan F. Krell

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789622058.003.0001

The current ecological debate in France may be summarized by the contrast between philosophers Michel Serres and Luc Ferry. Serres condemns the war on nature that modern humans, desiring in the Cartesian tradition to “master and possess” nature, seem to be waging. He aspires to a “natural contract” between humans and nature, which would entail a symbiotic relationship between the parties. Ferry accuses Serres of being antihumanist—a radical, deep ecologist—and mocks the very idea of a natural contract. While Serres’s world view is ecocentric, placing humans on the same plane as the rest of nature, which should possess legal dignity, Ferry embraces an anthropocentric world view, in which humans are clearly separate from and superior to the rest of nature. Bruno Latour, a student of Serres, accuses Ferry of being mired in Kantian modernism.

Keywords:   Michel Serres, natural contract, Luc Ferry, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Descartes

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