- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Counterpoint; 1 edition (June 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582435928
- ISBN-13: 978-1582435923
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Naess Paperback – June 15, 2010
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The Ecology of Wisdom only hints at the breadth and power of [Naess’s] thought . . . At a time when the environment hangs in the balance and it’s tempting to give in to despair, these sturdy, hopeful writings from an ecological philosopher and peace activist are more necessary than ever.” Orion
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, the means for such a reformulation (and its deeper convictions about what the human subject is), while controversial, are simultaeneously as radical and yet more nuanced than the puffery-moguls at (say) the National Review are evidently willing to admit. Rather than the all-to-easy stereotype of the Deep Ecologist as a human hating eco-terrorist, this book shows Naess as a deep and complex thinker on the relationship between humanity and the rest of the world. The conclusion he advocates throughout-- that the environment deserves an autonomous place in our thinking, while human welfare must nevertheless always come first-- is decidedly mild and reasonable. In other words, it's a far cry from arguing that we should be exterminating humans and living in huts in order to protect a living earth.
On a personal level, I feel a certain (distant) kinship with Naess because of our shared love of Spinoza, who is my intellectual hero (as well as Naess's apparently). Like Spinoza, Naess aspires to a philosophy of joy in spite of a certain pessimism about the immediate future.
The most goading thing about the book, by far, is the introduction. The guys who wrote are apparently philosophy professors but you couldn't tell it by the tone or depth of their introduction to Naess's thought. Rather than providing a critical look at his intellectual and political development all we get are hosannas about how smart, talented, nice, spontaneous, etc. he was. Even the section that purports to be an overview of his philosophy is far too hagiographic and insubstantial to be of any use to a serious student.
All the same, Naess seemed to be a brilliant guy (he died in January 2009) as well as a formidable thinker and, like all anthologies, this one did its job by whetting my appetite for more.