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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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Environmentalism is a Humanism

Environmentalism is a Humanism

(p.193) Conclusion Environmentalism is a Humanism
Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics

Jonathan F. Krell

Liverpool University Press

Ecocritics have long been at odds against humanism. What is needed is an “ecological” or “inclusive” humanism, which includes humans and nonhumans, rather than regarding humans as the crown of creation. Several contemporary French intellectuals affirm that one cannot be an ecologist without being a humanist. Claude Lévi-Strauss disparages traditional Western humanism, which denies dignity not only to nonhumans, but to non-Western humans. Pierre Rabhi calls for a “universal” and “true” humanism that respects the earth. Edgar Morin writes that “spaceship Earth” has no pilot: humans must be “ecologized” in order to save the planet. Michel Maffesoli’s “ecosophy” is a plea for Dionysian “progressivism” to replace Promethean “progressism.” His humanism—etymologically linked to “humus” and “humility”—entails a deep respect for the earth. Finally, the American Thomas Berry rejects traditional Christian humanism in favor of an ecological humanism that embraces an “interdependent biological community of the human with the natural world.”

Keywords:   environmentalism, humanism, Stephanie Posthumus, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Pierre Rabhi, Edgar Morin, Michel Maffesoli, Prometheus, Dionysus, Thomas Berry

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