From Marti Kheel, "From Heroic to Holistic Ethics: The EcofeministChallenge," pp. 243-271 in Greta Gaard ( Ed.). Ecofeminism: Women,Animals, Nature. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
As the destruction of the natural world proceeds at breakneckspeed, nature ethicists have found themselves in search of a theorythat can serve to bring this destruction to a halt. [l] Just as theprototypical hero in patriarchal stories must rescue the proverbial"damsel in distress," so, too, the sought-after theory mustdemonstrate heroic qualities. It must, singlehandedly, rescue theailing body of "Mother Nature" from the villains who have bound andsubdued her. The theoretical underpinnings of environmental andanimal liberation philosophies are seen by many ethical theorists ashaving the necessary "intellectual muscle" to perform this heroicfeat.  But is a heroic ethic a helpful response to the dominationof nature, or is it another conqueror in a new disguise?
It is significant that ecofeminists have, by and large, declinedto join the "hunt" for an environmental ethic or "savior theory." Thewritings within ecofeminism have largely ignored the heated debatesengaged in by (predominantly) male philosophers over what shouldconstitute the basis of an appropriate ethic for the natural world. Aglance at the vast majority of ecofeminist writings reveals, instead,a tendency to concentrate on exposing the underlying mentality ofexploitation that is directed against women and nature within thepatriarchal world.  Whereas nature ethicists have tended toconcentrate on "rescuing" the "damsel in distress," ecofeminists havebeen more likely to ask how and why the "damsel" arrived at herpresent plight.
Clearly ecofeminists have taken a different approach to thecurrent crisis in nature. No single theory is sought or expected toemerge, through reasoned competition with the others, as the mostpowerful or compelling one. In fact, no single ethical theory seemsto be sought at all. What have been emerging, rather, are a number oftheories or stories that, when woven together into a fabric ortapestry, help to provide a picture or "portrait" of the world inwhich we currently live.  Whereas mainstream nature ethicists havebased much of their analysis on abstract principles and universalrules, ecofeminists have tended to highlight the role of metaphorsand images of nature. The emphasis has been not on developingrazorsharp theories that can be used to dictate future conduct, butrather on painting a "landscape" (or "mindscape") of the world.
This is not to say that ecofeminists have merely described ourcurrent problems, showing no interest in changing the world. On thecontrary, ecofeminists have been deeply committed to socialtransformation. The method of transformation that ecofeminists havesubscribed to, however, is premised on the insight that one cannotchange what one does not understand. Understanding the inner workingsof patriarchal society is emphasized precisely so that society mightbe transformed. The transformation that ecofeminists wish to bringabout is, thus, often implicit in their critiques. If the images ofwomen and nature under patriarchal society have facilitated theexploitation and abuse of both, then, clearly, new ways of perceivingthe world must be sought. The natural world will be "saved" not bythe sword of ethical theory, but rather through a transformedconsciousness toward all of life.
The emphasis on developing new ways of perceiving the world is inkeeping with much of the recent work in feminist moral theory.Feminist moral theorists have begun to show that ethics is not somuch the imposition of obligations and rights, but rather a naturaloutgrowth of how one views the self, including one's relation to therest of the world. Before one can change the current destructiverelation to nature, we must, therefore, understand the world viewupon which this relation rests. Just as a health-care practitionerwould not attempt to treat an illness without understanding thenature and history of the disease, many feminists would argue that itis not possible to transform the current world view of patriarchywithout understanding the disease that has infected the patriarchalmind. What, then, is the world view that patriarchy has bequeathedus?
The predominant image of nature throughout the Western,patriarchal world has been that of an alien force. Nature, which hasbeen imaged as female, has been depicted as the "other," the rawmaterial out of which culture and masculine self-identity are formed.Two major images have been used to achieve separation from nature. One of the most common images has been that of the Beast.  TheBeast is conceived as a symbol for all that is not human, for thatwhich is evil, irrational, and wild. Civilization is thus achieved bydriving out or killing the Beast. On an inward level, this involvesdriving out all vestiges of our own animality--the attempt toobliterate the knowledge that we are animals ourselves. Outwardly, the triumph over the Beast has been enacted through theconquest of wilderness, with its concomitant claim to the lives ofmillions of animals driven from their lands.
The triumph over the demonic Beast has been a recurring themethroughout the mythologies of the patriarchal world. Typically, theslain Beast is a former divinity from the earlier matriarchal world.The serpents, dragons, and horned gods, who were at one timeworshiped as divine, are transformed in patriarchal mythology intodevils and monsters that must be slain. Thus, Apollo slays Gaia'spython; Perseus kills the threeheaded Medusa (the triple goddess),who is described as having snakes writhing from her head; Herculesdefeats the terrible multiheaded Hydra; and the pharaohs of laterEgypt slay the dragon Apophys.  In the Middle Ages, there werecountless renditions of St. George's prowess in killing thedragon--again, to rescue the "damsel in distress."
Frequently the death of the Beast is said to herald the birth oflight and order, either at the beginning or the end of time. Thus, inthe Sumero-Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Marduk kills hismother, the goddess Tiamat, the great whale-dragon or cosmic serpent,and from her body the universe is made. Both Judaism and Christianitycontinue the dragon-slaying tradition. According to St. John theDivine, at the world's end an angel with a key will subdue the dragonthat is Satan. And in the Hebrew legend, the death of the serpentlikeLeviathan is prophesied for the Day of Judgment. In Christianity, thetask of killing the dragonlike monster was transferred from gods andheroes to saints and archangels. The archangel Michael was a notabledragon-slayer. Faith, prayer, and divine intervention came to be seenas the new dragon-slayers whose task it is to restore the world oforder.
These myths of violence and conquest contrast sharply with themythologies of prepatriarchal cultures. The cosmological stories ofthese societies typically depicted the beginning of life as emergingfrom a female-imaged goddess who embodied the earth. Thus, Gaia, inthe earliest Greek myths, was thought to give birth to the universeby herself. And the snake, so much feared in our current culture, wasworshiped in such societies as divine. By the time of the biblicalstory of the Garden of Eden, a totally new world view had emerged.Both a woman and an animal were by this time depicted as the sourceof all evil in the world. And "Man," above all other forms of life,was claimed to have a special relation to the divine.
Today, the heroic battle against unruly nature is reenacted asritual drama in such masculine ventures as sport-hunting, bullfights,and rodeos. A similar mentality can be seen in the ritual degradationof women in pornography and rape. As Susan Griffin points out,pornography is ritual drama.  It is the heroic struggle of themasculine ego to deny the knowledge of bodily feelings and one'sdependence upon women and all of the natural world.
The second image of nature appears less heroic but is equallyviolent in its own way. It is the image of nature as mindless matter,which exists to serve the needs of superior, rational "Man." In thisimage, animals are depicted as having different, unequal naturesrather than as wild or evil creatures that must be conquered andsubdued. They are not so much irrational as nonrational beings. Alongwith women, they are viewed as mere "matter" (a word that,significantly, derives from the same root word as "mother").
Both Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy contributed to theconception of nature as inert or mindless matter. It was theAristotelian notion of purpose and function, however, that especiallyhelped to shape the Western world's instrumental treatment of womenand nature.  According to Aristotle, there was a naturalhierarchical ordering to the world, within which each being movedtoward fulfillment of its own particular end. Since the highest endof "Man" was the state of happiness achieved through rationalcontemplation, the rest of nature was conveniently ordered to free"Man" to attain this contemplative goal. Thus, plants existed to givesubsistence to animals, and animals to give it to "Man"; and thespecific function of women, animals, and slaves was to serve asinstruments for the attainment of the highest happiness of free,adult men. There is no need to conquer nature in this conception,since nature has already been safely relegated to an inferior realm.
The Jewish-Christian tradition has also contributed to aninstrumental and hierarchical conception of nature. [ll] The Genesisaccount of Creation must bear a large share of the guilt for thisstate of affairs. In the priestly account of the Genesis story ofCreation, we are told that God gave "Man" "dominion over every livingthing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). And in the Yahwistversion, chronologically an earlier account, we are told thatnonhuman animals were created by God to be helpers or companions forAdam, and when they were seen as unfit, Eve was created to fulfillthis role (Genesis 2:22). Both stories, in their distinct ways,reinforce the notion that women and nature exist only for the purposeof serving "Man." 
The conception of nature as an object for "Man's" use was carriedto an ultimate extreme by Cartesian philosophy. According toDescartes, since animals were lacking in "consciousness" or "reason,"they were mere machines that could feel no pain. Smashing the legs ofa monkey, Descartes "reasoned," would hurt no more than removing thehands of a clock. With Cartesian philosophy, the wild, demonic aspectof nature was, thus, finally laid to rest, and the image of nature asa machine was born.
The image of nature (and women) as mindless objects is typicallyemployed for more practical goals--profit, convenience, andknowledge. Division and control, not conquest, are the guidingmotives; the rationality of the detached observer replaces thepleasure of conquest as the psychological mode. The use of animals inlaboratories, factory farms, and fur ranches exemplifies this frameof mind, as does the image and use of women as "housewives" and"breeding machines." In the earlier (Beastly) image, nature is seenas a harlot; in this conception, nature is more like a slave or wife.
Although the two images of nature may seem unrelated, they merelyrepresent different points along a single scale. In one image, natureis seen as a demonic being who must be conquered and subdued. In theother image, nature has been subdued to the point of death. Behindboth images, however, lies a single theme--namely, the notion ofnature as the "other," a mental construct in opposition to which amasculine, autonomous self is attained. In one, the violence appearsto be perpetrated by an aggressive masculine will; in the other,through the use of reason. But the underlying theme remains thesame--namely, the notion of the aggressive establishment of themasculine self through its opposition to all of the natural world.
Feminist psychoanalytic theory has helped to shed light on thepsychological motives that lie behind the need men feel to separateviolently from the female world. According to object-relationstheory, both the boy and the girl child's earliest experience is thatof an undifferentiated oneness with the mother figure. Although bothmust come to see themselves as separate from the mother figure, theboy child, unlike the girl, must come to see himself as opposed toall that is female as well. Thus, the mother figure, and by extensionall women, become not just an other, but the other--the objectagainst which the boy child's identity is formed and defined. 
Object-relations theorists, such as Dorothy Dinnerstein, have alsoargued that it is not just women who become an object against whichmen establish their sense of self, but that nature becomesobjectified as well.  Women and nature both come to represent theworld of contingency and vulnerability that men must transcend. Thetwin need to separate from women and from nature can be discerned intypical male rituals of initiation into adulthood. A boy's entranceinto manhood is typically marked by separation from women and oftenby violence toward the nonhuman world. In many tribal cultures a boyis initiated into manhood by being sent off to hunt and kill ananimal. In other cultures, "baptisms of blood" occur when a young mangoes to war or sexually penetrates a woman for the first time. 
If the cult of masculinity has been modeled on the image ofpredation, the field of nature ethics has been modeled on that ofprotection. Both animal liberation and environmental ethics springfrom a common defensive reaction to the willful aggressionperpetrated upon the natural world. Animal liberationists concentratemuch of their energies on protecting those animals reduced to thestatus of inert matter or machines--that is, animals in laboratoriesand factory farms. Environmental ethicists, by contrast, devotethemselves primarily to protecting those parts of nature that arestill "wild." But the underlying motive remains the same--namely, theurge to defend and protect. 
Various modalities have been proposed for how the defense ofnature might best be waged. Typically, nature ethicists have feltcompelled to arm themselves with the force of philosophical theory incoming to nature's defense. Whereas patriarchal society has sought todestroy the natural world, nature ethicists have sought to place itunder the protective wing of ethical theory. However, as SarahHoagland points out, predation and protection are twin aspects of thesame world view: "Protection objectifies just as much as predation."
In their attempt to forge iron-clad theories to defend the naturalworld, nature ethicists have come to rely on the power and strengthof a reasoned defense. Reason is enlisted as the new hero to fight onnature's behalf. In the past, humans (primarily men) have conceivedof themselves as proprietors of the object-laden natural world. Today, many nature ethicists conceive of themselves not as the ownersof nature, but as the owners of value, which it is their prerogativeto mete out with a theoretical sweep of their pens. Ethicaldeliberation on the value of nature is conceived more or less like acompetitive sport. Thus, nature ethicists commonly view themselves as"judges" in a game that features competing values out of which ahierarchy must be formed. The outcome is that some must win andothers must lose. If a part of nature is accorded high value(typically by being assigned a quality that human beings are said topossess, such as sentience, consciousness, rationality, autonomy),then it is allowed entrance into the world of "moralconsiderability." If, on the other hand, it scores low (typically bybeing judged devoid of human qualities), it is relegated to the realmof "objects" or "things," and seen as unworthy of "interests" or"rights." The conferral of value in ethical deliberation is conceivedas the conferral of power.  "Inherent value" or "inherent worth"(the highest values) accrue to nature to the extent that nature canbe rescued from the object world.  Much of the heated debateamong nature ethicists occurs over what class of entities mayrightfully be granted admittance to the subject realm. Thepresumption behind this conceptual scheme is that if an entity is notgraced with the status of "subject," it will become the "object" ofabuse.
Both animal liberationists and environmental ethicists seek tocurb the willful destruction of the natural world through another actof human will. Reason is, once again, elevated above the naturalinstincts and asked to control our aggressive wills. The same reasonthat was used to take value out of nature (through objectificationand the imposition of hierarchy) is now asked to give it value onceagain. A sound ethic, according to this view, must transcend therealm of contingency and particularity, grounding itself not in ouruntrustworthy instincts, but rather in rationally derived principlesand abstract rules. It must stand on its own as an autonomousconstruct, distinct from our personal inclinations and desires, whichit is designed to control. Ethics is intended to operate much like amachine. Feelings are considered, at best, as irrelevant, and atworst, as hazardous intrusions that clog the "ethical machinery."Basing an argument on love or compassion is tantamount to having noargument at all. As Peter Singer boasts in his well-known AnimalLiberation, nowhere in his book will readers find an appeal toemotion where it cannot be substantiated by rational argument. 
In their attempt to forge iron-clad theories to defend the naturalworld, nature ethicists have, in many ways, come to replicate theaggressive or predatory conception of nature that they seek tooppose. They leave intact a Hobbesian world view in which nature isconceived as "red in tooth and claw," with self-interest as the onlyrule of human conduct.  The presumption is that only reasoncompels people to submit to sovereign rule--in this case, not that ofa king, but that of ethical theory. Ethics, according to this worldview, comes to replicate the same instrumental mentality that hascharacterized our interaction with the natural world. It is reducedto the status of a tool, designed to restrain what is perceived as aninherently aggressive will.
Not all philosophers of nature have relied on axiological or valuetheory to rescue nature from her current plight. A number of writers,working in what some refer to as the field of ecophilosophy, have sought to ground their philosophy not in the rationalcalculation of value, but rather in a transformed consciousnesstoward all of life.  Although they share with nature ethiciststhe urge to rescue nature from the object realm, they reject a"values in nature" philosophy in favor of grounding their philosophyin a particular phenomenological world view.
Often the search for this transformed consciousness is describedin terminology that borrows freely from the field of resourcedevelopment. For example, we read of the search for the "conceptualresources" or the "foundations" of an environmental consciousness. Although various religious and philosophical traditions havebeen proposed as suitable "resources" for the development of thisconsciousness, it is the images and metaphors of nature within thesetraditions that are the primary focus of concern. Some of the imagesand metaphors for nature that have been proffered as "fertile"grounds for the development of an environmental consciousness includethat of an "interconnected web," "a community of living beings," an"organism," and an "expanded Self." The science of ecology hasprovided additional support for a world view that perceives all oflife as an interconnected web or a single living being. The tendencyof many ecophilosophers is to "mine" these conceptual systems for anecological consciousness, rather than to examine their own feelingsand emotions toward the natural world. 
The underlying motive for the reconceptualization of the naturalworld is the urge to rescue nature from the aggression that isthought to ensue without these conceptual restraints. History has, infact, shown that particular conceptions of nature have acted as arestraint against human aggression. As Carolyn Merchant points out:
The image of the earth as a living organism andnurturing mother has historically served as a cultural constraintrestricting the actions of human beings. One does not readily slay amother, dig into her entrails for gold, or mutilate her body. . . .As long as the earth was considered to be alive and sensitive, itcould be considered a breach of human ethical behavior to carry outdestructive acts against it. 
Many ecofeminists, inspired by the premodern conceptions of Gaiaor "Mother Earth," have consciously sought to reclaim these images. For most ecofeminists, however, this attempt to revive the imageof Gaia is grounded not in systematic phenomenology but, rather, in afeeling of spiritual connection with the natural world. A femaleimage of the earth simply seems to have resonance for manyecofeminists as a contrast to the patriarchal notion of a male skygod. 
Yet the image of the earth as a living being is insufficient inand of itself to bring a halt to the current destruction of thenatural world. The attempt by many ecophilosophers to graft a newimage onto our current conception of nature fails to challenge theunderlying structures and attitudes that have produced the image theyseek to supplant. The underlying tendencies toward aggression thatexist under patriarchy are thus left intact.
The Gaia hypothesis, proposed by the scientist James Lovelock,illustrates this point. The hypothesis originally was hailed byecophilosophers for reviving the notion of the earth as a livingbeing. This initial enthusiasm, however, was subsequently temperedwhen Lovelock concluded that the earth, as a result of itsself-regulating mechanisms, was perfectly capable of enduringhumanity's insults. Lovelock boldly claimed, "It seems very unlikelythat anything we do will threaten Gaia. . . . The damsel in distress[the environmentalist] expected to rescue appears as a buxom androbust man-eating mother."  With Lovelock's theory, the earth was"revived," but the underlying structures and attitudes that promoteaggression were left unchallenged. Thus, although ecophilosophershave avoided some of the pitfalls of nature ethics, with itsattendant notion of obligations and rights, they have often leftunchallenged the deeper problem entailed in the notion of ethics as aform of restraint.
The notion of ethical conduct as restraint of aggression isclearly illustrated in the writings of Aldo Leopold, considered bymany to be the founder of ecophilosophy and the environmentalmovement. Deep ecologists have pointed to Leopold's "land ethic" asthe embodiment of their ideal of the expanded Self. According to deepecologists, when one expands one's identity to the "land" or to allof nature, nature will be protected, since to cause nature harm wouldbe to harm oneself as well.  Thus, the expanded Self, notaxiological theory, is designed to defend the natural world fromhuman abuse. However, if we examine Leopold's land ethic carefully, we find that what it most clearly conveys is the notion ofethics as a means of restraint. Far from eliminating the aggressivedrives that are inherent in patriarchy, the expansion of identitymerely contains the aggressive impulses so as not to exceed aspecified limit, which might thus endanger the "land."
Leopold's land ethic maintains that a thing is right when it tendsto preserve the "integrity, stability, and beauty of the bioticcommunity. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."  This maxim,however, which has been widely quoted, gives an incomplete picture ofLeopold's ideas. Not only are the "beauty, integrity and stability ofthe biotic community" in no way marred by the killing of individualanimals for sport; they are actually enhanced by it, inLeopold's view: "The instinct that finds delight in the sight andpursuit of game is bred into the very fiber of the human race." He goes on to state that the desire to hunt lies deeper than the urgeto participate in other outdoor sports: "Its source is a matter ofinstinct as well as competition. . . . A son of Robinson Crusoe,having never seen a racket, might get along nicely without one, buthe would be pretty sure to hunt or fish whether or not he were taughtto do so."  In other words, for Leopold, a boy instinctivelylearns to shoot a gun, and, moreover, instinctively wants to hunt andkill. As he states: "A man may not care for gold and still be humanbut the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwiseoutwit birds and animals is hardly normal . He is supercivilized, andI for one do not know how to deal with him." 
According to Leopold, all boys and men have this aggressiveinstinct (interestingly, he had nothing to say about women andgirls). Ethics, then, enters into the picture as the need to curb,not eliminate, this aggressive drive. The ability to exercise(and curb) this aggressive instinct, through such activities ashunting, is viewed by Leopold as an inalienable right:
Some can live without the opportunity for theexercise and control of the hunting instinct, just as Isuppose some can live without work, play, love, business or othervital adventure. But in these days we regard such deprivation asunsocial. Opportunity for the exercise of all the normal instinctshas come to be regarded more and more as an inalienable right. [Emphasis mine.]
Leopold goes on to complain that "the men who are destroying ourwildlife are alienating one of these rights and doing a good job ofit."  In other words, wildlife should be preserved not because ofthe animal's inherent right to life, but because of the hunter'sinherent right to kill! As he explains, "[The individual's] instinctsprompt him to compete for his place in the community but his ethicsprompt him also to cooperate (perhaps in order that there may be aplace to compete for").  (Again the emphasis is mine.) AsLeopold summarizes his ideas, "An ethic ecologically is a limitationon freedom of action in the struggle for existence. An ethicphilosophically is a differentiation of social from antisocialconduct. These are two definitions of one thing. Good social conductinvolves limitation of freedom." 
Leopold's land ethic is, thus, inextricably tied to his ideasabout proper hunting conduct. It involves what he calls "goodsportsmanship." Much of Western ethics is based upon a similar ideaof good sportsmanship, according to which you compete in the game butplay by the rules.
The notion that ethical conduct involves restraining the errant orimmoral passions can be found not only in Western philosophy but inWestern religion as well.  The Christian church changed the focusof morality from prudence to obedience. The sentiments of the Churchfathers are aptly captured by Sarah Hoagland--namely, that "evilresults when passion runs out of (their) [i.e., the Church fathers']control."  The Church was (and is) fond of buttressing thisnotion with appeals to biblical authority. We are told that in thebiblical story of Genesis, Adam's sin is precisely a failure of will.Adam's failure to obey God's command is attributed to Eve, and Eve'slapse of obedience is in turn ascribed to the snake. Eve has gonedown in history as the embodiment of evil for having trusted the wordof an animal over God's command.
Obedience to a transcendent God or abstract concept has been oneof the most common conceptions of ethics in the Western world. Behindthis notion lies the even more fundamental notion of ethics asrestraint. Indeed, the model of ethics as a form of restraint can beseen in the Jewish Christian God Himself. Thus, feeling remorse forhaving destroyed most of the world, God forges a covenant with Noahafter the flood to restrain Himself from further outbursts of thiskind. 
Frequently, aggressive conduct is not prohibited under patriarchy,merely restrained and controlled. Often aggression is explicitlycondoned if it is properly channeled into ritualized form. In manycultures, killing a totem animal is customarily condemned, buthonored on rare occasions when performed as a sacrifice to a god.Similarly, the laws of Kashrut sanction the killing of animals aslong as it is done in a restrained and ritualized fashion, accordingto "God's command."
The institutionalization of violence in modern society serves alegitimating function similar to that of ritual violence. Forexample, it is illegal for someone to beat a dog wantonly on thestreet, but if an experimenter beats the same dog in the protectiveconfines of a laboratory, while counting the number of times the dog"vocalizes," it is considered an honorable activity and called"science." The rules of the experiment operate, like the rules ofritual, to lend legitimacy to the violent act.  Animalexperimentation is accorded additional legitimation by borrowing thelanguage of ritual. Animals are said to be "sacrificed" inlaboratories, not killed. Behind this obfuscation of language liesthe tragic belief that somehow, if animals are killed at the altarsof science, human beings will be allowed to live. 
Aggression is often condoned under patriarchy in the name of anabstract ideal, typically "the greater good." We are told thatkilling (whether in laboratories, in warfare, or in razing land) isnecessary for the greater good of "Mankind." Again, the Christian Godhimself provides a perfect example of this conduct. Through thekilling of his son, "God" is said to have sought the redemption of"Man," and hence the greater good.
Since the Enlightenment, ethical theory has tended to be basedless on the Word of God and more on the god of Reason.  The themeof controlling the unwieldy passions, however, has remained intact,receiving its most refined expression in the thought of Kant. Whilescience and technology were mining nature for her riches, Kant, inanalogous fashion, was attempting to strip human ethical conduct ofits immersion in the natural world. As he writes, "To behold virtuein her proper shape is nothing other than to show morality strippedof all admixture with the sensuous and of all the spurious adornmentsof reward or self love."  Moral individuals, according to Kant,rise above their personal inclinations or nature, and act out ofduty. Duty is determined first by pure reason or logic, stripped ofall feeling, and then by the exercise of the will.
The conception of morality as the rational control of irrationaland aggressive desires contrasts sharply with the way in which manywomen have described their ethical behavior and thought. Research byCarol Gilligan suggests that women's ethical conduct and thought tendto derive more from a sense of connection with others and from thefeelings of care and responsibility that such connection entails.Men's sense of morality, on the other hand, tends to derive more froman abstract sense of obligations and rights. According to one ofGilligan's respondents, Amy, "Responsibility signifies response, anextension rather than a limitation of action. Thus, it connotes anact of care, rather than restraint of aggression." For fake, bycontrast, responsibility "pertains to a limitation of action, arestraint of aggression." 
For many women, what needs to be explained is not how and whypeople should be compelled to behave in moral ways, but how and whycompassion and moral behavior fail to be sustained. As Alison Jaggarstates, "Because we expect humans to be aggressive, we find the ideaof cooperation puzzling. If, instead of focusing on antagonisticinteractions, we focused on cooperative interaction, we would findthe idea of competition puzzling. 
The founding of ethics on the twin pillars of human reason andhuman will is an act of violence in its own right. By denigratinginstinctive and intuitive knowledge, it severs our ties to thenatural world. But the violence of abstraction operates in other waysas well. Wrenching an ethical problem out of its embedded contextsevers the problem from its roots.  Most nature ethicists debatethe value of nature on an abstract or theoretical plane. Typically,they weigh the value of nature against the value of a human goal orplan. For example, we are asked to weight the value of an animal usedfor research in a laboratory against the value of a human being whois ill. The problem is conventionally posed in a static, linearfashion, detached from the context in which it was formed. In asense, we are given truncated stories and then asked what we thinkthe ending should be. However, if we do not understand the world viewthat produced the dilemma that we are asked to consider, we have noway of evaluating the situation except on its own terms.
What, for example, is a mother to say when she is told that theonly way that her child can be saved is through the "sacrifice" ofanimal life? The urgency of the situation leads the mother to believewhat she is told and to feel that it is "right" that the animalshould die to save her child's life. It is understandable that themother would choose her daughter's life over that of an anonymousanimal. It would also be understandable, however, if the mother chosethe life of her daughter over that of an anonymous child. This,however, is not the ethical dilemma that she is asked to consider. Noone has asked her to juxtapose the life of one human against that ofanother. Although it would clearly be more helpful to experiment on ahuman child to help save the life of another child, no one isproposing this. Animals, however, have been relegated to the statusof objects or property. As such, their bodies can easily beconscripted into this tragic human story. 
The mother of the ailing daughter consumes this story; she doesnot create it or even enact it. She is not the one who will beinjecting poisons into animals and watching their bodies writhe inpain. She is not the one who will slice into their brains to see whatbits of knowledge might lie therein. She is the consumer of anarrative or story from which these details have been convenientlyexcised.
Currently, ethics is conceived as a tool for making dramaticdecisions at the point at which a crisis has occurred.  Little ifany thought is given to why the crisis or conflict arose to beginwith. Just as Western allopathic medicine is designed to treatillness, rather than maintain health, Western ethical theory isdesigned to remedy crisis, not maintain peace. But the word "ethics"implies something far less dramatic and heroic--namely, an "ethos" orway of life.
According to Iris Murdoch, moral behavior is not a matter ofweighing competing values and making the proper, rational choice.Rather, as she argues, what is crucial in the moral life is the actof attention before a moral choice is made. In her words, the morallife is "not something that is switched off in between the occurrenceof explicit moral choices. What happens between such choices isindeed what is crucial."  Murdoch contends: "If we consider whatthe work of attention is like, how continuously it goes on and howimperceptibly it builds up structures of values round about us, weshall not be surprised that at crucial moments of choice most of thebusiness of choosing is already over."  Morality, for Murdoch, isfar from the notion of the rational control of an inherentlyaggressive will. When one directs a "patient, loving regard" upon "aperson, a thing, a situation," according to Murdoch, the will ispresented not as "unimpeded movement," but rather as "something verymuch more like obedience." 
It is precisely this loving regard that patriarchal culture hasfailed to attain. Rather, in the patriarchal "look," nature has beenreduced to a set of objects or symbols that are used to attain asense of self that is detached from the rest of the natural world.Nature is imaged as wild and demonic, passive and inert, but never asa community of living beings with instincts, desires, and interestsof their own.
The patriarchal mind has managed to look, but not see, act but notfeel, think but not know. Claude Bernard, considered by many to bethe founder of modern medicine and the widespread use of animals inresearch, embodies this failure of perception. According to Bernard:"The physiologist is not an ordinary man: he is a scientist,possessed and absorbed by the scientific idea that he pursues. Hedoes not hear the cries of animals, he does not see their flowingblood, he sees nothing but his idea, and is aware of nothing but anorganism that conceals from him the problem he is seeking toresolve." 
It is this fixation on abstraction (God, Reason, ideas, or the"Word") that has hampered the patriarchal mind from perceiving otherforms of life in caring ways. In order to disengage from thisfixation on abstraction, it is necessary to engage in practice. Ifecofeminists are serious about transforming the patriarchal worldview, we must begin to take our own experiences and practicesseriously. We might, for example, decide, on an abstract plane, thatwe are justified in eating meat. But if we are dedicated to anecofeminist praxis, we must put our abstract beliefs to the practicaltest. We must ask ourselves how we would feel if we were to visit aslaughterhouse or factory farm. And how would we feel if we were tokill the animal ourselves? Ethics, according to this approach, beginswith our own instinctive responses. It occurs in a holistic contextin which we know the whole story within which our actions take place.It means rethinking the stories that we have come to believe underpatriarchy, such as the belief that we must experiment on animals tosave human life, or the belief that we must eat meat to lead healthylives.  As Carol Adams points out, we are brought up to acceptthat being eaten is the logical ending to the story of a farmanimal's life.  But stories such as these can only be conceivedby a patriarchal mind that is unable to conceive of nature asimportant apart from human use.
Patriarchal society is adept at truncating stories and thenadapting them to its own needs. It is true, for example, that someanimals are predators; however, the vast majority are not.  Mostof the animals that humans eat are, in fact, vegetarian (cows, pigs,chickens). We are asked, under patriarchy, to model our behavior notafter the vegetarian animals but after the predators. The narrativeof predation thus becomes a convenient "pretext" to justify a widerange of violent acts. No other species of animal confines, enslaves,and breeds other animals to satisfy its taste for flesh. Yet, underpatriarchy, this story remains untold. Nor are we told thatpredatory animals generally kill other animals only for survivalreasons; that, unlike humans, these animals would not survive withouteating meat. The story of predation is wrenched out of the largercontext and served to us to consume.
Since we live in a fragmented world, we will need to stretch ourimaginations to put it back together again. It is often difficult forus to conceive of the impact that our personal conduct has beyond ourindividual lives. Reason is easily divided from emotion when ouremotions are divided from experience. Much of the violence that isperpetrated against the natural world occurs behind closed doors orout of our view. Most of us will never see a slaughterhouse, furranch, or animal research laboratory. If we are to engage in anecofeminist praxis, the least we can do is inform ourselves of whattranspires in these places. If we are to make holistic choices, thewhole story must be known.
The story of meat eating must include not only the brutaltreatment of animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, notonly the devastating impact of meat eating on the ecology of theearth, on world hunger, and on human health--it must includeall these and other details, which it must then weave togetherinto a whole. Only when we have all the details of this and otherstories will we be able to act holistically with our bodies, minds,and souls. It is the details that we need to live moral lives, notobedience to abstract principles and rules. 
Holistic medicine provides a fitting paradigm for holistic ethics.Just as holistic medicine seeks to discover the whole story behinddis-ease, so, too, holistic ethics seeks to discover the whole storybehind ethical dilemmas. Western allopathic ethics, on the otherhand, is designed to treat the symptoms of patriarchy (its dilemmasand conflicts), rather than the disease embodied in its total worldview. Allopathic ethics, like allopathic medicine, operates on thenotion of heroism.  Just as Western heroic medicine spends mostof its time, money, and resources on battling advanced stages ofdisease and emergency situations, so, too, Western heroic ethics isdesigned to treat problems at an advanced stage of theirhistory--namely, at the point at which conflict has occurred. It isnot difficult to discern why allopathic medicine spends little to noresearch money on prevention.  Prevention is simply not a veryheroic undertaking.  How can you fight a battle if the enemy doesnot yet exist? It is far more dramatic to allow disease and conflictto develop and then to call in the troops and declare war. The dramaof illness is seen to lead ineluctably to the climax of a heroic,technological fix.
Heroic medicine, like heroic ethics, runs counter to one of themost basic principles in ecology--namely, that everything isinterconnected. Ecology teaches us that no part of nature can beunderstood in isolation, apart from its context or ecological niche.So, too, I would argue, our moral conduct cannot be understood apartfrom the context (or moral soil) in which it grows. By uprootingethical dilemmas from the environment that produced them, heroicethics sees only random, isolated problems, rather than an entirediseased world view. But until the entire diseased world view isuprooted, we will always face moral crises of the same kind. There isan ecology to ethics, just as to every aspect of the natural world.If we do not care for our moral landscape, we cannot expect it tobear fruit.
The "environmental crisis" is, above all, a crisis of perception.It is a crisis not only by virtue of what our culture sees, but byvirtue of what it does not see. Adrienne Rich has shown how "lies,secrecy, and silence" have been used to perpetuate the exploitationof women.  The same may be said to apply to the exploitation ofall of the natural world as well. If we are to transform thedestructive consciousness that pervades our current culture, we mustbreak through the lies, secrecy, and silence. This is not anindividual endeavor. Holistic ethics is a collective undertaking, nota solitary task. It is a process of helping one another to piecetogether the wider stories of which our lives form a part. It meansfilling in the missing links. It may mean approaching a woman on thestreet who is wearing a fur coat and asking her if she is aware ofhow many animals died to make her coat, and if she is aware of howmuch suffering the animals had to endure. At the same time, it meansunderstanding the cultural context that leads this woman to seeglamour where others see death. She is the product of a society thatrobs women of their own self-image and then sells it back to them indistorted form. She thinks that she is "dressed to kill"; we must lether know that others have been killed for her to dress. 
In order to engage in holistic ethics, we must also disengage frompatriarchal discourse. Patriarchal discourse creates dilemmas that itthen invites us to resolve. Thus, animal experimenters typicallyinvite us to answer the question, "Who would we save if we had tochoose between our drowning daughter and a drowning dog?" The crisisscenario is designed to lead us to believe that only one life can besaved, and only at the other's expense. Disengaging from patriarchaldiscourse means that we must refuse to dignify these dualisticquestions with a response. Even to consider such questions is to givesupport and validity to the patriarchal world view.  The bestresponse to such questions is, perhaps, to pose a question of ourown. We might ask why the child is ill to begin with. Was it due tothe hormones found in the meat she was fed, or was it perhaps due tothe consumption of drugs that had proved "safe" after testing onanimals? And why was the proverbial dog touted by research scientists"drowning" to begin with? Had someone thrown the dog in the water(or, rather, the laboratory) in the pathetic belief that somehow,through the dog's death, a young child's life would be saved? And howand why did we develop a culture in which death is seen as a medicalfailure, rather than as a natural part of life?
As we disengage from patriarchal discourse, we begin to hearlarger and fuller stories. Hearing these bigger stories meanslearning to listen to nature. The voice of women and the voice ofnature have been muted under patriarchy. Women and nature areconsidered objects under patriarchy, and objects do not speak,objects do not feel, and objects have no needs. Objects exist only toserve the needs of others. But despite our society's refusal tolisten, nature has been increasingly communicating her needs to us.Nature is telling us in myriad ways that we cannot continue to poisonher rivers, forests, and streams, that she is not invulnerable, andthat the violence and abuse must be stopped. Nature is speaking tous. The question is whether we are willing or able to hear. 
The notion of obligations, responsibilities, and rights is one ofthe tools used by heroic ethics. But genuine responsibility fornature begins with the root meaning of the word--"our capacity forresponse." Learning to respond to nature in caring ways is not anabstract exercise in reasoning. It is, above all, a form of psychicand emotional health.  Heroic ethics cannot manufacture healthout of the void of abstraction. Psychic and emotional health cannotbe manufactured at all. It can only be nurtured through thedevelopment of a favorable environment or context within which it cangrow. The moral "climate" must be right.
Ecofeminists and other nature writers have often proclaimed theimportance of a "holistic world view." By "holism" they refer to thenotion of the "interdependence of all of life." But interdependenceis hardly an ideal in and of itself. A master and slave may be saidto be interconnected, but clearly that is not the kind of relationthat ecofeminists wish to promote. The quality of relation ismore important than the fact that a relation of some kind exists. Ifour society is to regain a sense of psychic health, we must learn toattend to the quality of relations and interactions, not just theexistence of relations in themselves. Thus, when hunters claim topromote the well-being of the "whole" by killing individual animals,or to "love" the animals that they kill, we must challenge theirstory. Our own notion of holistic ethics must contain a respect forthe "whole" as well as individual beings.
Re-specting nature literally involves "looking again." We cannotattend to the quality of relations that we engage in unless we knowthe details that surround our actions and relations. If ecofeministsare sincere in their desire to live in a world of peace andnonviolence for all living beings, we must help each other throughthe pains-taking process of piecing together the fragmented worldview that we have inherited. But the pieces cannot simply be patchedtogether. What is needed is a reweaving of all the old stories andnarratives into a multifaceted tapestry.
As this tapestry begins to take shape, I stretch my imaginationinto the future and spin the following narrative. Many, many yearsfrom now, I am sitting by the fireside with my sister's grandchild.She turns to me and asks me to tell her a story of how things used tobe, in the distant past. I turn to her and speak the following words:
"Once upon a time," I tell her, "there existed a period we nowcall the Age of Treason. During this time, men came to fear natureand revolted against the earlier matriarchal societies which hadlived in harmony with the natural world as we do now. Many terriblethings occurred during this time that will be difficult for you tounderstand. Women were raped and the earth was poisoned and warfarebecame routine.
"Animals were tortured throughout the land. They were trapped andclubbed so people could dress in their furs. They were enslaved incages--in zoos, in laboratories, and on factory farms. People ate theflesh of animals and were frequently ill. Researchers told peoplethat if they 'sacrificed' animals in laboratories they would be curedof disease. People no longer trusted in their own power to healthemselves and so they believed what they were told.
"The men had forgotten that they had formerly worshiped theanimals they now reviled. Instead they worshipped a God that toldthem they had a special place in Creation, above all the otheranimals on earth. They found great comfort in this thought. And sothey continued their cruelhearted ways."
As I conclude my fantasy, I imagine my grandniece turning to mewith a look of disbelief.
"Did they really used to eat animals?" she queries.
"Yes," I answer gently, and much, much worse. But now that is alla matter of history. Like a very bad dream. Now, at long last, we canlive in peace and harmony with all the creatures of the earth. TheAge of Treason has passed."
1. I have used the term "nature ethicists" to refer broadly tothose writers working in the fields commonly referred to as"environmental ethics" and "animal liberation." I prefer the term"nature ethics" to that of "environmental ethics" since it moreclearly implies the inclusion of humans within its parameters. Theterm "environmental ethics" tends to reinforce a dichotomous view of"humans" and "the rest of nature." For clarity, however, I sometimesuse the term "environmental ethics" in order to distinguish thisphilosophical perspective from that of animal liberation. I alsodistinguish "nature ethics" from the field of "ecophilosophy" (see n.24). In contrast to nature ethicists, who seek to develop anenvironmental ethic, ecophilosophers, as referred to in thischapter, seek to develop ecological consciousness (see below).
2. In a nationwide march on Washington for animal rights held onJune 10, 1990, the Anglican theologian and animal liberation authorand activist Andrew Linzey boasted that "we are no longer a movementof little old ladies in tennis shoes; ours is a movement withintellectual muscle" (my emphasis). Heroism has been anundercurrent not only in nature ethics and ecophilosophy, but in theenvironmental movement as well. Phrases such as "the race againstextinction," the "fight to save the planet," and the "war againstpollution" all betray an underlying heroic stance. Radicalenvironmental groups such as Earth First! also freely employ theterminology of warfare. The back cover of a popular book on theradical environmental movement boldly asserts that "war has beendeclared--perhaps history's most important war--and it's being wagedto save the world from ourselves"; see Rik Scarce, Eco-Warriors:Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement, with a forewordby David Brower (Chicago: Noble Press, 1990). The description of atelevision show reflects the same heroic mentality. The show, gearedtoward children and billed under the heading "Bashing the Ravagers,"is described as featuring five young "planeteers" who are embodied byGaia, the spirit of the earth, to "battle" a group of "eco-villains."The planeteers, who combine forces during crisis situations,mysteriously generate a (male) superhero, Captain Planet, sporting aform-fitting costume and bearing a distinct resemblance to thatpopular hero Superman. John Carman, TV Week, San FranciscoChronicle, September 30, 1990, p. 3.
3. Some of the major works on ecofeminism include Leonie Caldecottand Stephanie Leland, eds., Reclaim the Earth: Women Speak Out forLife on Earth (London: Women's Press, 1983); Andree Collard withJoyce Contrucci, Rape of the Wild: Man's Violence Against Animalsand the Earth (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989); MaryDaly, Gyn/Ecology: TheMeta-Ethics of Radical Feminism (Boston:Beacon Press, 1978); Irene Diamond and Gloria Feman Orenstein, ads.,Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism (SanFrancisco: Sierra Club, 1990); Elizabeth Dodson Gray, GreenParadise Lost (Wellesley, Mass.: Roundtable Press, 1981); SusanGriffin, Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (New York:Harper & Row, 1978); Heresies 13 (1981): "Feminism andEcology"; Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecologyand the Scientific Revolution (New York: Harper & Row, 1983);Judith Plant, ad., Healing the Wounds: The Promise ofEcofeminism (Philadelphia: New Society, 1989).
4. The theme of weaving together women's voices recurs throughoutboth ecofeminist and feminist thought. According to Karen Warren, afeminist ethic is, of necessity, a contextualist ethic, which isproperly viewed as a collage or mosaic, a tapestry ofvoices that emerges out of felt experiences. The point is not to haveone picture based on a unity of voices, but a pattern which emergesout of the very different voices of people located in differentcircumstances": "The Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism,"Environmental Ethics 12 (1990): 139. Support for a pluralistconception of ethics can also be found in the work of Christopher D.Stone, Earth and Other Ethics: The Case for Moral Pluralism(New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 115-52; also see Jim Cheney,"Postmodern Environmental Ethics," Environmental Ethics 11(1989): 117-34. For a contrast to the "multivocal" conception ofenvironmental ethics, see Baird Callicott, who argues in "The CaseAgainst Moral Pluralism," Environmental Ethics 12 (1990):99-124, for a "univocal ethical theory" that involves "onemetaphysics of morals: one concept of the nature of morality . . .one concept of human nature . . . one moral psychology."
5. The analysis of the images of nature in Western society thatfollows is drawn from my unpublished manuscript, "Befriending theBeast and the Body: The Ecofeminist Challenge."
6. I am indebted to Mary Midgley, Beast and Man: The Roots ofHuman Nature (New York: Meridian Books, 1978), for myunderstanding and use of the term "Beast."
7. For an in-depth analysis of how both masculine self-identityand Western civilization are founded upon the attempt to transcendanimal and female natures, see Wendy Brown, Manhood and Politics:A Feminist Reading in Political Theory (Totawa, N.J.: Rowman& Littlefield, 1988); Marilyn French, Beyond Power: On Women,Men, and Morals (New York: Summit Books, 1985); Susan Griffin,Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revenge Against Nature (NewYork: Harper & Row, 1981).
8. Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother:Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth (San Francisco: Harper& Row, 1987), 250-51.
9. Griffin, Pornography and Silence, p. 55.
10. For a detailed analysis of the functionalist conception ofwomen within Western political thought, see Susan Moller Okin,Women in Western Political Thought (Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1979).
11. The best-known formulation of this argument was made by LynnWhite, Jr., in "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," inThe Environmental Handbook, ed. John Barr, 3-16, reprintedfrom Science 10 (1967): 1203-7. White's thesis instigated anoutpouring of literature defending the Christian religion against hiscritique. Typically, the defense has hinged on the contention thatthe scriptural notion of "stewardship" implies not only privilege butresponsibility. See, for example, Robin Attfield, The Ethics ofEnvironmental Concern (New York: Columbia University Press,1983). Despite valiant attempts to place stewardship in a more benignlight, there is no escaping the fact that it still implies ahierarchy with humans at the top.
12. Elizabeth Dodson Gray, Green Paradise Lost, 4, arguesthat the pattern of the first Genesis account reflects a"hierarchical" conception, whereas the second is more accuratelydescribed as "anthropocentric," in that "everything is created aroundthe male, including the female [who is] created from his rib to behis helpmate." However, as she argues, "the interpretation throughthe ages has blended the accounts in Gen. l and Gen. 2 into a singleCreation Tradition, which has been both hierarchical andanthropocentric."
13. I am indebted to Catherine Keller for my understanding of themultiple manifestations of the masculine "separative self"; seeFrom a Broken Web: Separation, Sexism, and Self (Boston:Beacon Press, 1986). For a related theme, see Evelyn Fox Keller,Reflections on Gender and Science (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 1985).
14. See Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering:Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley and LosAngeles: University of California Press, 1978) .
15. Dorothy Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur: SexualArrangements and the Human Malaise (New York: Harper & Row,1976) .
16. For a critique of Anglo-European culture's emphasis on warriorvirtues, see Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Warrior Culture," Time,October 15, 1990, 100. See also the letter of response by WardChurchill, co-director of the Colorado American Indian Movement,which critiques Ehrenreich for failing to see the nonviolent ways inwhich manhood is recognized in many tribal cultures: "Ehrenreich andIndians," Z Magazine, November 1990, 5. It is interesting, Ifeel, that Churchill cites "hunting" as an example of a "nonviolent"rite of passage into adult masculine self-identity.
17. For a more detailed critique of the divisions between thephilosophies of animal liberation and environmental ethics, see my"Liberation of Nature: A Circular Affair," Environmental Ethics7 (1985): 135-49; also see my "Animal Liberation andEnvironmental Ethics: Can Ecofeminism Bridge the Gap?" paperpresented at the Annual Meeting of the National Women's StudiesAssociation, Akron, Ohio, June 20-24, 1990.
18. Sarah Hoagland, Lesbian Ethics: Toward New Values (PaloAlto, Calif.: Institute of Lesbian Studies, 1989), 31.
19. Both stewardship ethicists and reform environmentalists merelyadmonish humans to care for the object-laden world with due respect.Ecotheologians typically remind humans that nature is not theproperty of "Man," but rather the property of God. The object orproperty status of nature is, thus, left intact, with God, nothumans, seen as the landlord of the world. For example, ecotheologianRichard A. Baer, Jr., argues in "Higher Education, the Church, andEnvironmental Values," Natural Resources Journal 17 (July1977): 48, that the earth is "property that does not belong to us."As Roderick Nash comments, "From Baer's perspective Homosapiens rents an apartment called nature. God is, quiteliterally, the landlord. He expects compliance with basic 'principlesof etiquette' in the use of his creation . . . humankind does nothave unconditional freedom to conquer and exploit what it couldnever, in the last analysis, own." From The Rights of Nature: AHistory of Environmental Ethics (Madison: University of WisconsinPress, 1989), 101.
20. Significantly, the word "value" derives from the Latinvalere, meaning "to be strong, hence well." It derives fromthe same root word as "valiant" and "valor." Values in ethics conferpower and strength.
21. Inherent value is typically defined as the value that anentity possesses independent of its utility or interest to otherbeings. Thus, those beings that have "inherent value" are said to bevalued for themselves. According to Tom Regan, The Case for AnimalRights (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press,1983), 243, only those individuals who are "subjects of a life" maybe said to possess "inherent value." Although "inherent value" issupposed to exist independently of a valuing consciousness, there isno escaping the fact that it is humans who determine which entitieshave it and which do not. Paul Taylor uses the term "inherent worth"in an essentially identical manner to Tom Regan's use of "inherentvalue." See Respect for Nature: A Theory of EnvironmentalEthics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).
22. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for OurTreatment of Animals (New York: Avon Books, 1975), xi.
23. Kenneth Goodpaster has argued that mainstream, modern ethicaltheory rests on the premise of egoism, and the corollary notion thatethical consideration for others is reached by a process ofgeneralization. "From Egoism to Environmentalism," in Ethics andProblems of the 21st Century, ed. K. E. Goodpaster and K. M.Sayre (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1979),21-35.
24. There is considerable fluidity in the terminology of naturewriters, and I am aware that not all writers employ the distinction Imake between ecophilosophy and nature ethics. For alternatedefinitions of ecophilosophy, see Henrik Skolimowski,Ecophilosophy: Designing New Tactics for Living (Salem, N.H.:Marion Boyers, 1981); Arne Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep,Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary," Inquiry 16 (1973):95-100.
The term "ecosophy" has also been proposed to refer to "ecologicalwisdom," as opposed to the more abstract, philosophical approachimplied by the term "ecophilosophy." This approach seems to bear theclosest affinity to an ecofeminist consciousness or ethic; see, forexample, Alan Drengson, Beyond The Environmental Crisis: FromTechnocrat to Planetary Person (New York: Peter Lang, 1989); ArneNaess, Ecology, Community and Lifestyle, trans. and ed. DavidRothenberg (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press,1990).
25. As George Sessions states, "The search then, as I understandit, is not for environmental ethics but for ecologicalconsciousness." See Ecophilosophy 3 (1981): 5a.
26. Examples of this language can readily be found in the pages ofthe journal Environmental Ethics. See, for example, RichardCartwright Austin, "Beauty: A Foundation for Environmental Ethics,"Environmental Ethics 7 (1985): 197-208; Eliot Deutsch, "AMetaphysical Grounding for Nature Reverence: East West,"Environmental Ethics 8 (1986): 293-316; Ernest Partridge,"Nature as a Moral Resource," Environmental Ethics 4(1984): 101-30; "Asian Traditions as a Conceptual Resource forEnvironmental Ethics: Papers from Sessions on Environmental Ethicsand Asian Comparative Philosophy," Environmental Ethics 8(1986). (Emphasis added.)
27. Some ecophilosophers do explicitly emphasize the role offeeling, intuition, and experience in ethical consciousness. BairdCallicott, in particular, has argued for the notion of anenvironmental ethic founded upon "love and respect." See "Elements ofan Environmental Ethic: Moral Considerability and the BioticCommunity," in In Defense of the Land Ethic: Essays inEnvironmental Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York),70. However, Callicott also insists in "Intrinsic Value, QuantumTheory," ibid., 160, that this "expanded moral sentiment" is groundedin a single phenomenological world view. The single, "seminalparadigm" that Callicott proposes for contemporary environmentalethics rests on Humean axiological foundations, as embellished by thethought of Darwin and Leopold.
Deep ecologists also emphasize the experiential nature ofecological consciousness. According to Bill Devall and GeorgeSessions, "The ultimate norms of deep ecology . . . cannot be graspedintellectually but are experiential": Deep Ecology: Living As IfNature Mattered (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1985), 69. JimCheney, however, has argued that the consciousness that deepecologists refer to derives from an abstract metaphysic rather than a"narrative embedment in a specific set of relationships." See "TheNeo-Stoicism of Radical Environmentalism," EnvironmentalEthics 11 (1989): 324.
For a feminist analysis of the role of feeling in nature ethicsand ecological consciousness, see Jim Cheney, "Eco-Feminism and DeepEcology," Environmental Ethics 9 (1987): 115-45; JosephineDonovan, "Animal Rights and Feminist Theory," Chapter 7 in thisvolume; Kheel, "The Liberation of Nature," 135-49; Warren, "The Powerand the Promise of Ecological Feminism," 125-46.
28. Carolyn Merchant, "Mining the Earth's Womb," in Machina ExDea: Feminist Perspectives on Technology, ed. Joan Rothschild(New York: Pergamon Press, 1983), 100.
29. Some feminists have expressed misgivings about restricting theimage of the earth to that of a mother figure. As Linda Vance arguesin Chapter 5 in this volume, the image of nature-as-mother acts as "areminder that our primary role is as caretakers and providers, andthat our only source of power is the threat to become angry andwithhold our bounty. . . . it sounds like a not very subtle warningto us that only mothers, only women who nurture and provide, deserveto be safe from rape."
30. Linda Vance has provided a refreshingly honest explanation forher decision to characterize the earth as female: "If I didn't thinkof nature as female, I wouldn't be able to feel such enormouspleasure in her presence." In other words, one might arguegenderizing the earth as female is a matter of sexual preference! SeeChapter 5 in this volume.
31. James Lovelock, "Gaia: A Model for Planetary and CellularDynamics," in Gaia: A Way of Knowing, ed. William IrwinThompson (Great Barrington, Mass.: Lindisfarne, 1987), 96.
32. In the words of deep ecologist Arne Naess, "Care flowsnaturally if the 'self ' is widened and deepened so that protectionof free Nature is felt and conceived as protection of ourselves." In"Self-Realization: An Ecological Approach to Being in the World," theFourth Keith Roby Memorial Lecture in Community Science, MurdochUniversity, Western Australia, March 12, 1986, 39-40.
33. The following analysis of Leopold's ideas is drawn from my"Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology: Reflections on Identity andDifference," in Covenant for a New Creation: Ethics, Religion andPublic Policy, ed. Carol Robb and Carl Casebolt (Maryknoll, N.Y.:Orbis Press, 1990). An earlier, abridged form of the article alsoappeared under the same title in Reweaving the World: TheEmergence of Ecofeminism, ed. Irene Diamond and Gloria Orenstein(San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1990), 128-37.
34. Aldo Leopold, "Land Ethic," in A Sand County Almanac: WithEssays on Conservation from Round River (New York and Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1966), 262.
35. Leopold, "Goose Music," ibid., 227.
36. Ibid., 232.
37. Ibid., 227.
38. Ibid., 227.
40. Leopold, "Land Ethic," 239.
41. Ibid., 238.
42. For a discussion of the elevation of reason and devaluation ofemotion in Western ethical thought, see Hoagland, LesbianEthics, 157-97; also see Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father:Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation (Boston: Beacon Press,1973), 102-6.
43. Hoagland, Lesbian Ethics, 158.
44. Genesis 8:20-21: "The Lord said in His heart, 'I will neveragain curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man'sheart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy everycreature as I have done.' "
45. Other parallels between science and ritual are not hard todetect. Thus, science is an activity that must be conducted insecret, where only the initiated (i.e., other scientists) have thepower to cast spells (i.e., perform experiments). The acceptedmethods of verification in scientific investigation (hypothesis,tests, and results) also operate much like a magical spell. If theprocedure is not faithfully followed, the spell (i.e., theexperiment) is said to have no effect (i.e., to be inaccurate). Thespells and incantations found in ritual also find their parallel inthe lingo that scientists have developed, which only the initiated(i.e., other scientists) are able to understand.
46. The sacrificial motive behind animal experimentation wasappreciated by many of the early anti-vivisectionists in the 1800s.Anna Kingsford argued, "An almost exact parallel to the modernvivisector in motive, method, and in character is presented by theportrait thus preserved to us of the medieval devil-conjurer. In itwe recognise the delusion, whose enunciation in medical language isso unhappily familiar to us, that by means of vicarious sacrifices,divinations in living bodies, and rites consisting of torturescientifically inflicted and prolonged, the secrets of life and ofpower over nature are obtainable." See her " 'Violationism,' orSorcery and Science," lecture presented to the British NationalAssociation of Spiritualists, January 23, 1883, and reprinted inLight, February 4, 1882, 55-58.
47. The similarity in the roles played by Reason and Revelation isaptly described by Beverly Harrisson in "Keeping Faith in a SexistChurch," in Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist SocialEthics, ed. Carol Robb (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 214:"'Reason' replaced 'Revelation,' but both were hypostasized andportrayed as nonrelational qualities, possessions of subjects, theone of God alone, the other of 'man' alone."
48. Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals,trans. H. J. Paton (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1964), 94.
49. Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theoryand Women's Development (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1982), 37-38.
50. Alison Jaggar, Feminist Politics and Human Nature(Totowa, N.J.: Rowman &Allanheld, 1983), 41.
51. The importance of context for ethics is also emphasized by JimCheney, who argues in "Eco-Feminism and Deep Ecology," 144, that "tocontextualize ethical deliberation is, in some sense, to provide anarrative or story, from which the solution to the ethical dilemmaemerges as the fitting conclusion." See also Warren, "The Power andthe Promise of Ecological Feminism," 125-46. The research by CarolGilligan suggests that the contextual approach to ethicaldeliberation is, in fact, more characteristic of women. When facedwith an ethical problem, women attempt to obtain more information andto reconstruct the dilemma in its contextual particularity, whereasmen tend to resolve it through adherence to abstract principles andrules. See In a Different Voice.
52. According to Joseph Meeker, Western culture is premised upon atragic world view in which conflict is presupposed, along with thenecessity for its resolution through heroic death. As he argues inThe Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology (New York:Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972), 37, "From the tragic perspective, theworld is a battle ground where good and evil, man and nature, truthand falsehood make war, each with the goal of destroying its polaropposite." Meeker holds that the tragic world view lies at the heartof our current environmental crisis. He contrasts the tragic worldview with the more environmentally compatible mode of comedy, whichis premised on the desirability of adaptation and survival: "Comedyillustrates that survival depends upon people's ability to changethemselves rather than their environment, and upon their ability toaccept limitations rather than to curse fate for limiting them. . . .When faced with polar opposites, the problem of comedy is always howto resolve conflict without destroying the participants. Comedy isthe art of accommodation and reconciliation" (39). Although Meekerdraws no connection between the tragic world view and that ofpatriarchy, I would argue that they are one and the same.
53. For an excellent critique of mainstream philosophy's emphasison crisis situations, see Joe Mellon, "Nature Ethics Without Theory,"Ph.D. diss., University of Oregon, 1989, 56. Mellon argues that"moral crisis cases are not matters of decision at all; we actbecause . . . we must." He explains that "moral crises do not presentus with some right thing to do. They are extreme situations inwhich one is forced to act as best one can." The bad faith of animalexperimenters, according to Mellon, is that they make no effort toavoid the "crisis situations" that they routinely invoke to justifythe use of animals in the "war against disease." As he states, "if noefforts are made to learn, and no steps are taken to avoid, then itseems poor form indeed to claim that what one is facing is a crisis,and that one is entitled to the extreme measures which might bejustified in a genuine crisis situation. Vivisectionists do preciselythis. They are wedded to their methods, and have no intention ofgiving them up."
54. Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good (London: Cox andWyman, 1970), 37.
56. Ibid., 40. Linda Peckham expressed to me her dismay overMurdoch's choice of the word "obedience" to refer to the will's rolein moral decision-making (conversation, December 5, 1990). Shesuggested that the word "cooperation" might convey a less dictatorialsense of the will. The word "obedience" is, in fact, so overlaid withJewish-Christian connotations that it is difficult to conceive of itas anything other than a commanding voice. Interestingly, the word"obedience" derives from the Latin ob (meaning "toward,""facing," or "upon") and audire (meaning "to hear"). If"obedience" in its root meaning refers to the notion of listening toone's "inner voice," then perhaps there is some call for retainingthis word in reference to ethical thought.
57. Cited in John Vyvyan, In Pity and in Anger: A Study of theUse of Animals in Science (Marblehead, Mass.: Micah Publications,1988), 11.
58. Meat eating has been shown to be a major cause of disease dueto the high levels of protein, bacteria, cholesterol, chemicals,hormones, and fat found in meat. For more on the health hazards ofmeat eating (as well as its other adverse effects), see BarbaraParham, What's Wrong with Eating Meat? (Denver: Ananda MargaPublication, 1979); John Robbins, Diet for a New America(Walpole, N.H.: Stillpoint, 1987); on health aspects only, see JohnMcDougall, McDougall's Medicine: A Challenging Second Opinion(Piscataway, N.J.: New Century, 1985).
59. Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: AFeminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (New York: Continuum, 1990),91-94.
60. Stephan Lackner estimates that, disregarding the creaturesslaughtered by humans, "only 5 percent of all animals are killed byother animals. Ninety-five percent of all animal lives are terminatedwithout bloodshed: by old age, sickness and exhaustion, hunger andthirst, changing climates, and the like." Peaceable Nature: AnOptimistic View of Life on Earth (San Francisco: Harper &Row, 1984), 12.
61. I am indebted to Mellon, "Nature's Ethics Without Theory," foran appreciation of the central role played by "details" in ethicalconduct and thought.
62. For more on the heroic, warfare mentality that underliesWestern allopathic medicine, see my "From Healing Herbs to DeadlyDrugs: Western Medicine's War Against the Natural World," in Plant,Healing the Wounds, 96-111.
63. Western medicine's lack of concern for prevention can be seenin the fact that despite estimates showing that 80 percent or more ofall cancers are attributable to environmental factors, medicalresearch continues to pour billions of dollars into finding magic(chemical) cures for this and other diseases. See John H. Knowles,"The Responsibility of the Individual," in Doing Better andFeeling Worse: Health in the United States, ed. John H. Knowles,M.D. (New York: Norton, 1977), 63.
64. I do not mean to imply that the ethos of heroism is the onlyreason for Western medicine's dismal neglect of preventive medicine.Certainly the profit motive has been an important contributing factoras well. Preventing disease, as most researchers know, is notprofitable. It has been estimated, for example, that as many peoplemake a living from cancer today as die from it: see Hans Reusch,Slaughter of the Innocent (New York: Civitas Publications,1983), 71. Animal experimentation also provides a convenient legalcover to drug manufacturers: thus, when the drug thalidomide wasextensively tested on animals and yet went on to produce birthdefects in 10,000 children born to pregnant mothers who took it, thedrug's manufacturers were acquitted on the grounds that research onanimals could not reliably predict how a drug would affect humans.Ibid., 8-10.
65. Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrecy and Silence: Selected Prose1966-1978 (New York: Norton, 1979).
66. Some of the anti-fur movement's campaign literature has tendedto blame women for the existence of furs. One well-known ad featuresa woman dragging a coat behind her, trailing a pool of blood. Thewords of the ad state, "It takes 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat,but only one to wear it." A milder reproach can be found in a HumaneSociety ad that depicts a woman hiding her face behind her purse. Thecaption declares, "You should be ashamed to wear fur." Although thelatter ad does not stoop to name calling as in the former case, itnonetheless reinforces the traditional function of advertising, whichhas been to tell women what they should feel or do (in this case, beashamed). The best approach, in my opinion, is not to blame women,but rather to provide them with the missing narrative pieces that areneeded for them to think and feel on their own.
67. In a similar vein, Sarah Hoagland contends that to engage indebate over whether or not women should have rights is to acknowledgeimplicitly that women's rights are debatable. As she points out inLesbian Ethics, 26, "Men's rights are not debatable. Thus, inagreeing to defend women's rights [one] is solidifying status quovalues which make women's but not men's rights debatable in ademocracy."
68. Josephine Donovan echoes a similar theme in her suggestionthat it is both possible and necessary to ground an ethic for thetreatment of animals in "an emotional and spiritual conversation withnonhuman life forms. Out of a women's relational culture of caringand attentive love, therefore, emerges the basis for a feminist ethicfor the treatment of animals. We should not kill, eat, torture, andexploit animals because they do not want to be so treated, and weknow that. If we listen, we can hear them." See Chapter 7 in thisvolume.
69. Along similar lines, Mary Daly argues that "unlike 'justice,'which is depicted as a woman blindfolded and holding a sword andscales, Nemesis has her eyes open and uncovered--especially her ThirdEye. Moreover, she is concerned less with 'retribution,' in the senseof meting out of rewards and punishments, than with an internaljudgment that sets in motion a new kind of psychic alignment ofenergy patterns": Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy(Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), 240. Similarly, Sarah Hoagland says inLesbian Ethics, 265, that her desire in writing that book wasto participate in a new kind of psychic alignment of energy patterns,a moral revolution.
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