The Philosophy of Global Warming

If you are interested in the relationship between the human species and the rest of life on Earth, individual and collective human purpose, evolution, cosmology, the nature of reality, astrology, spirituality, and how all of this relates to global warming & the environmental crisis of modernity, then I am sure that you will like my new book 'The Philosophy of Global Warming'. In the post below I have provided the book description, the list of contents and the first two sections of the book. You can find out how to get hold of the book by clicking on this link:

The Philosophy of Global Warming

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Concept of Naturalness

A little reflection on the concept of naturalness. Many people assert that "humans are not natural". Other people take it to be obvious that humans are completely natural and ridicule those who assert that humans are not natural. Can we make any progress concerning this disagreement?

I believe that it is blatantly obvious that everything is natural; however, I think we should be forgiving of those who prefer to use the concept of 'naturalness' differently. This is because it is also blatantly obvious that there is a great chasm between humans and the rest of the lifeforms of the Earth.

One aspect of what creates the chasm between the human species and the rest of the lifeforms of the Earth, is the concept of naturalness itself. The human species is that part of the Solar System which has created the concept of 'naturalness'. The human species is that part of the Solar System which has become so separated from its surroundings that it can entertain the possibility that its surroundings are 'natural' and that it is something very different, something 'non-natural'. This fact itself is of interest, and it creates a chasm between the human and the non-human. Another related aspect of this chasm between the human and the non-human is that the human species is the technological animal; technology being the factor that stimulates the creation of the concept of 'naturalness'.

So, whilst everything is natural, there is a fundamental chasm between the human and the non-human, and in many cases we can simply think to ourselves that this chasm is what people are referring to when they utter phrases such as "humans are not natural". We need not think to ourselves that these people are stupid or have preposterous views.

It is also common to believe that "not every configuration of nature is good". However, this is actually a pretty empty statement. There is nothing obvious about whether a particular arrangement of nature is good or bad. In order to start making some progress on this question one first needs to ask the question: Good for what or for whom? Then, one needs to make progress on the question: What does good mean?

In my writings over the past decade I have made the case that the present configuration of nature (human domination of the planet, human release of fossil fuels from underground storage, etc.) is exceptionally good for life and exceptionally good for the Solar System. It is good because it is a sign that life is thriving and will thrive into the distant future. It is not so good for the human species because being the technological animal entails being a species that itself suffers terribly. However, in the bigger picture it is good for the human species, because it is good for life, and the human species is part of life. I have outlined all of this in great detail in my books 'The Philosophy of Global Warming' (2014) and 'Is the Human Species Special: Why human-induced global warming could be in the interests of life' (2010), and 'An Evolutionary Perspective on the Relationship between Humans and their Surroundings: Geoengineering, the Purpose of Life and the Nature of the Universe' (2012).