In this Book

buy this book Buy This Book in Print
Going back at least to the writings of John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, people have argued for and against maintaining a state of nature. Is there an inherent virtue in leaving alone a naturally occurring condition, or does the human species thrive when we find ways to improve our circumstances? This volume probes whether “nature” and “the natural” are capable of guiding moral deliberations in policy making. Drawing on philosophy, religion, and political science, this book examines three questions central to debates over the idea of “nature” in human action. Conceptually, it asks what the term means, how it should be considered, and if it is, even in part, a social construct. From a moral perspective, the contributors question if being “natural” is itself of value or if its worth is only as a means to advance other morally acceptable ends. Politically, essays discuss whether appeals to nature can and should affect public policy and, if so, whether they are moral trump cards or should instead be fitted alongside or weighed against other concerns. Achieving consensus on these questions has proven elusive and seems unattainable. This should not, however, be an obstacle to moving the debate forward. By bringing together disparate approaches to addressing these concepts, The Ideal of Nature suggests the possibility of intermediate positions that move beyond the usual full-throated defense and blanket dismissal found in much of the debate. Scholars of bioethics, environmental philosophy, religious studies, sociology, public policy, and political theory will find much merit in this book’s lively discussion.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xx
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1 Disposing Nature or Disposing of It?: Reflections on the Instruction of Nature
  2. pp. 1-16
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2 In Defense of Living Nature: Finding Common Ground in a Medieval Tradition
  2. pp. 17-28
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3 Nature as Absence: The Logic of Nature and Culture in Social Contract Theory
  2. pp. 29-48
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4 Human Nature without Theory
  2. pp. 49-70
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5 Preserving the Distinction between Nature and Artifact
  2. pp. 71-83
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6 Why “Nature” Has No Place in Environmental Philosophy
  2. pp. 84-97
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7 The Appeal to Nature
  2. pp. 98-113
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 8 Thinking Like a Mountain: Nature, Wilderness, and the Virtue of Humility
  2. pp. 114-129
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 9 He Did It on Hot Dogs and Beer: Natural Excellence in Human Athletic Achievement
  2. pp. 130-148
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 10 Sport, Simulation, and EPO
  2. pp. 149-167
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 11 Commonsense Morality and the Idea of Nature: What We Can Learn from Thinking about “Therapy”
  2. pp. 168-178
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 12 Rawls, Sports, and Liberal Legitimacy
  2. pp. 179-199
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 201-208
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.