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The Noetics of NatureEnvironmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible$
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Bruce V. Foltz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254644

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254644.001.0001

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Nature and Other Modern Idolatries

Nature and Other Modern Idolatries

Kosmos, Ktisis, and Chaos in Environmental Philosophy

(p.215) Chapter 11 Nature and Other Modern Idolatries
The Noetics of Nature

Bruce V. Foltz

Fordham University Press

Not until modernity is what the ancient Greeks called kosmos, and early Christianity called ktisis (creation), termed “nature”—just as the notion of things having a nature was abandoned. Whereas previously God alone was seen as true ousia (substance), now nature is reified and deified as genuine substantia, and thus (as noted by William Blake) rendered an idol in the sense understood by Athanasios the Great (nature not as window to divinity, but mirror for our own desires) and reiterated in a truncated manner by Jean-Luc Marion. In a development from Feuerbach to Nietzsche, this idolatry is celebrated, culminating with Deleuze, who sees nature as a faceless simulacrum characterized by chaos rather than order and harmony—all three representing nature as the object of human desire. This idolatrous view of nature is uncritically appropriated by environmental thought, which should instead retrieve the view of nature as transparent to the divine.

Keywords:   Ktisis, Kosmos, Athanasios the Great, William Blake, Idolatry, Idol, Jean-Luc Marion, Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze

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