Environmentalism in the age of Biologism

  • Tomáš Daněk Palacky University in Olomouc


One of the main areas of concern for environmentalists is nature. But what does it really mean for contemporary western man? What does it mean for biologists and for environmentalists? Many environmental philosophers have contributed to these topics (e.g. Merchant, 1990, Plumwood, 1993), nevertheless the question has remained painfully unsolved until recent times. This paper provides the author´s brief interpretation of the crucial moments in modern philosophy concerning our understanding of nature and what nature means for today’s biologists and the consequences for environmentalism and the conservation of nature.The author assumes that, despite massive developments in modern science and many impressive breakthroughs, we are in principle still locked into a mechanistic model of the universe, as created by Galilei, Descartes and Newton. It has fundamental consequences for biology, for our understanding of nature and also for environmentalism. What are environmentalists protecting? Some inert matter controlled by mechanical natural laws? If not, what is alive in the environment that they are fighting for? In terms of recent evolutionary thinking, there is ultimately nothing to protect. Nature has no value in itself.Recent environmentalism has just taken over scientific knowledge and for this reason it suffers from the fundamental and inherent contradiction that in many ways it is trying to protect nature from the various consequences of the mathematical-mechanistic view of the world, but to understand and resolve those consequences environmentalists use our knowledge of biology, which is ultimately based on the mathematical-mechanistic view of the world. So quite possibly their work is contributing to the problem, and at the same time it is also becoming epistemologically dependent on natural science, which brings this knowledge.Until environmentalists do not bring their own concept of reality, which would at least try to offer the original explanation of nature as living and valuable, there is little chance of real improvement in recent environmental problems.
Apr 22, 2015
How to Cite
DANĚK, Tomáš. Environmentalism in the age of Biologism. Development, Environment and Foresight, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 24-43, apr. 2015. ISSN 2336-6621. Available at: <http://def-journal.eu/index.php/def/article/view/4>. Date accessed: 01 dec. 2022.


crisis of environmentalism; understanding of nature; biologism; death nature; environmentalism and evolution; subject of environmentalism; biological alternatives