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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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Morrow’s Ants

Morrow’s Ants

E. O. Wilson and Gadamer’s Critique of (Natural) Historicism

(p.36) Chapter 2 Morrow’s Ants
Interpreting Nature

Mick Smith

Fordham University Press

E.O. Wilson’s sociobiology presents a view of natural history that universalizes science at the cost of a viable ethics and politics of nature. In contrast, Gadamer’s hermeneutic ontology suggests that the universalization of hermeneutic consciousness offers us another perspective. This hermeneutical perspective suggests a richer, self-conscious view of history, rather than an ahistorical scientific stance embodied by Wilson and others. Gadamer also acknowledges a sense of incompleteness and finitude that are absent in Wilson’s totalizing perspective. Hermeneutics, then, allows our dialogue about nature to properly value ethics and politics without absolutizing the scientific perspective.

Keywords:   E.O. Wilson, Morrow’s Ants (novel), Gadamer, Hans-Georg, Natural history, Hermeneutic consciousness, Understanding, Environmental philosophy, Philosophical hermeneutics

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