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Interpreting NatureThe Emerging Field of Environmental Hermeneutics$
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Forrest Clingerman, Brian Treanor, Martin Drenthen, and David Utsler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254255

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254255.001.0001

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Environmental Hermeneutics

Environmental Hermeneutics

Deep in the Forest

(p.17) Chapter 1 Environmental Hermeneutics
Interpreting Nature

John van Buren

Fordham University Press

This essay takes the form of a sketch of the rough outlines of a critical environmental hermeneutics. The author applies hermeneutics, narrative theory, and critical theory to environmental ethics, and uses this hermeneutical theory as a method to illuminate the “deep” underlying issues relating to the perception and use of forests. In applying this method, the author first takes up the analytical problem of identifying, clarifying, and ordering the different interpretive narratives about forests in terms of the underlying epistemological, ethical, and political issues involved. He then addresses the critical problem of deciding conflicts between these different interpretations of forests by working out a set of legitimation criteria to which all parties concerned would ideally be able to subscribe.

Keywords:   Forests, Nature interpretation, Narrative, Epistemology, Communicative rationality, Hermeneutical arc, Environmental philosophy, Philosophical hermeneutics

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