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978 90 5727 010 9


400 pages


Wim Zweers : Participating with Nature

Outline for an Ecologization of our World View



This book is about being part of nature: participating with nature. In the modern 'scientific' era this is something that seems to have become almost totally unfamiliar to us, something that is past and, according to many, can never return. Here, however, the opposite case is presented: that participating with nature - as an essential aspect of the human experience of meaning - can be a pre-eminently contemporary and Western perspective that need not conflict in any way with science or rationality.


Participating with Nature also presents another thesis: that participating with nature is not only a possibility for modern people, an option that can be chosen at the personal level, but also a social necessity, at least if we wish to strike at the roots of the environmental crisis. Environmental problems confront us with a fundamental crisis of modern Western culture. If we wish to overcome this crisis, a new concept of culture is needed: one in which separation between humans and nature makes way for connectedness, and exploitation is replaced by experience of meaning. What we need, in short, is an ecologization of our world view, and the real story of this book is that such an ecologization has nothing to do with nostalgia or wishful thinking, and everything to do with a realism enhanced by reflection and experience. This discussion of environmental philosophy offers an outline for a 'postmodern' concept of culture based on two central notions: intrinsic value of nature and participation. It not only covers such fields as philosophy of culture, metaphysics, aesthetics and spirituality, but also makes links with Christianity, environmental policy, technology and science. Precisely the connection between seemingly disparate approaches is a central motif in the philosophical thesis presented here, a thesis which will be of interest to all those who are willing to think about and share in making plans for the future of our culture.



Wim Zweers was attached to the Philosophy Department of Amsterdam University from 1971 to 1994. He has co-organized four conferences and (co-) edited three readers on environmental philosophy. He is an ethusiastic mountaineer (Alps) and trekker (Himalayas, Karakorum), and also a dedicated (classical) pianist and amateur atronomer.

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