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[논문] 자연 / 문화 이원론과 생태중심적 윤리
Naure / Culture Dualism and the Ecocentric Ethics

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    It can be assumed that the semantic history of the term "nature" in the Western culture, on the whole, can be divided into two major periods: the period until the medieval times in which people worshipped the immutable supernatural as superior to the mutable nature; and the period since the Renaissance in which nature has been perceived as the disenchanted material to be used by the human. Through the history of Western ideas, the concept of nature tends to be categorized as the Other that is inherently inferior to both the supernatural and the human. In the Eastern culture, human beings are believed to be positioned within nature, not outside it, and they are participating, actively or passively, in the continuous flow of dynamic energy. Thus, the concept of the inhuman nature as the raw material to be exploited by human beings for their own benefit is not compatible with the traditional (or pre-modem) Eastern mode of thought based on religious veneration of nature. To regard humanity as a product of nature, not as a dominating subject of the objectified nature, is one of the major characteristics of the ecocentric ethics. The nature/culture dualism, which should be regarded as an ideological (that is, cultural) conceptualization in the West, is not universal or cross-cultural. The culture/nature dualism is being most seriously criticized by cultural holists including ecofeminists. In this essay, I attempted to understand the main ideas inherent in cultural holism whose primary concern is to promote the ecocentric ethics through critical interrogations of the Western ideology embedded in the nature/culture dualism.


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