The Meaning of Nature: A Survey of the Western Approach

Agassiz Centre for Water Studies, University of Manitoba (1977)
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This book-length essay was written in the late 1970s at a time when human damage to the natural environment was becoming a topic of concern. Since then this damage has become a catastrophe and the book's message even more pertinent. Its argument was that while the problem of the environment is new and clear, the conceptual tools we use to understand it are old and confused. The discussion of humankind's deleterious effect on the environment was and still is largely conducted through the lens of 'man and nature.' Nature however is an idea, not an objective entity, and one with a long and tortuous history. 'The Meaning of Nature' though in retrospect somewhat grandiosely titled is an extended conceptual analysis of what 'nature' has meant in selected historical eras, what it means today, and what work it has performed well and less well.
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