Place, Narrative, and Virtue

Poligrafi 18 (69/70):73-97 (2013)
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This essay reexamines Holmes Rolston’s evocative notion of “storied residence” and evaluates it for its fitness for environmental virtue ethics. Environmental virtue ethics (or EVE) continues to garner attention among environmental philosophers, and recently Brian Treanor has argued for the indispensability of narrative approaches as part of that discourse. In this paper, I endorse this indispensability thesis generally, but I argue that narrative environmental virtue ethics must be supplemented either by “storied residence” or a similar environmentally, scientifically, culturally, and historically rich concept of narrative. Rolston himself has criticized environmental virtue ethics for being too agent-centered. Fortunately, an adequate sense of storied-residence is precisely what is needed to avoid triggering the vicious anthropocentrism that concerns Rolston. More concretely, storied-residence makes place(s) central to environmental virtue ethics by giving expression to features of the more-than-human world that often become secondary considerations to agency in accounts of environmental virtue.
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