A Metaphysical Approach to Environmental Sustainability- Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy
This project looks at the various moral guiding principles and responses have been developed as an attempt to respond to existing environmental concerns. As a starting point it examines anthropocentrism, biocentrism and Ecocentrism. It avers that part of the reason why we experience environmental challenges is because of the divisions between humans and nonhumans created through anthropocentrism and between living and nonliving brought about by biocentrism. The project further observes that while ecocentrism has attempted to resolve the problem through the numerous ecocentric philosophies such as deep ecology, ecological models, eco-psychology, elemental philosophy, non-disjunctive approach, ecofeminism, transpersonal ecology and ecopsychology; there is still more that needs to be done in unifying this ecocentric theoretical approaches as an attempt to offer a theoretical solution to environmental sustainability. The objectives of the study are: to make a critical examination of Whitehead‘s Metaphysics; to demonstrate the implications of Whitehead‘s Metaphysics on environmentalism; and make inferences on how process philosophy may be applied to environmentalism. Due to the human impact on the environment through: carbon dioxide emissions, both industrial and agricultural, water vapor, overgrazing, and thermal pollution, diversion of fresh waters into oceans, affecting its salinity and freezing point, deforestation; the need to have further study on the justifications for environmental sustainability cannot be overemphasized. Humans are negatively changing both their environment and climate. This study departs from the point that despite the existing ecophilosophical approaches none of them on its own really achieves what ecocentrism set out to achieve which is having a sustainable environment. The study therefore seeks a whole inclusive metaphysical approach in addressing environmental sustainability efforts. In other words a metaphysical approach to environmental sustainability which is a postulation from Whitehead‘s process philosophy is an attempt by this study to find a unity of purpose by all ecological theories on environmentalism. In its findings therefore this study holds that in and through process philosophy, the study institutes a unity among equal beings that are unified by the elements that contribute into their make up in a metaphysical unity explained by the principles well demonstrated by process philosophy. A critical examination and study of Whitehead‘s process philosophy is therefore demonstrated as necessary in order to establish justification for the paradigm in which we will have a nature centered approach to the environment and hence achieving its sustainability.
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