Convergence with Nature
A Daoist Perspective

By David E. Cooper

Convergence with Nature
Paperback, 168 pages £10.95
Published: 23rd February 2012
ISBN: 9780857840233
Format: 216mm x 138mm

Click here to see ebook versions available
Kindle
Published: 5th July 2012
ISBN: 9780857841636
Category: ECO-PHILOSOPHY, SCIENCE & NATURAL HISTORY

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In this book David E. Cooper explores our relationship to nature – to animals, to plants, to natural places – and asks how it can be shaped into an appropriate one which contributes to the good of people’s lives as a whole. Religions and philosophies have much to say about our relationship with nature, and Chinese Daoist philosophy has long been regarded as among those most sympathetic to the natural world. Daoists seek an attunement to the Dao (the Way) which is characterized by a sense of flow (water being a favourite metaphor), spontaneity, non-interference, humility and patience – virtues which contrast with the aggressive and exploitative values which characterize a modern world increasingly subject to economic imperatives.

Like the best of contemporary nature writing, the classic Daoist texts reveal a yearning for convergence with nature, nostalgia for a lost intimacy with the natural world, disillusion with humanity or its products, and a feeling for nature’s mystery. The author explains how these attitudes are rooted in Daoist philosophy and explores their implications for our practical engagement with natural environments. He discusses, too, a number of ethical issues – including hunting, intensive farming, and environmental activism – that reflective people need to address in their efforts to heal our relationship with the Earth.

Convergence with Nature explores our relationship to nature – to animals, to plants, to natural places – and asks how it can be shaped into an appropriate one that contributes to the good of our lives as a whole. Religions and philosophies have much to say on this subject, and Chinese Daoist philosophy is considered to be one of the most sympathetic to the natural world. Daoists seek an attunement to the dao (the Way), which is characterised by a sense of flow, spontaneity, non-interference and humility – virtues that contrast with the aggressive values of a modern world driven by economic imperatives.

 

Like much contemporary nature writing, the classic Daoist texts reveal a yearning for convergence with nature, nostalgia for a lost intimacy with the natural world, disillusion with humanity or its products, and a feeling for nature’s mystery. The author explains how these attitudes are rooted in Daoist philosophy and explores their implications for us today. He discusses a number of pertinent issues, such as what role science should play in our relationship with nature, whether hunting animals is consistent with an appropriate relationship to them, and whether a harmonious relationship with nature demands an active commitment to saving the environment.

1    Orientation

      Nature writing

      Some modern moods

      Philosophy’s roles

 

2    Why Daoism?

      Nature and people in Chinese art

      In a Daoist key

      Daoist moods

 

3   Religion, technology, estrangement

      Theology and ‘the ecological crisis’

      A philosopher’s hut

      Daoism, technology and estrangement

      ‘Letting-be’

 

4    Estrangement, environmentalism and ‘otherness’

      Rhetoric and reality

      Nature’s ‘otherness’

 

5    Nature in Daoism

      ‘Nature’: some connected senses

      Nature as educator

      Nature and virtue

 

6    On the Way (1): dao, world and unity

      Dao, God, nature and nothing

      Dao, experience and world

      Self, world and the unity of things

 

7    On the Way (2): de, virtues and sages

      De and the myriad things

      ‘Profound de’ and human virtues

      The Daoist sage

 

8     Mindfulness of nature

       Mindfulness, disinterestedness and impartiality

       Mirroring nature and ‘dirty glass’

       Science and reverie

 

9     Nature, feeling and appreciation

       Sober joy

       Opposing moods

       Enjoying natural beauty

 

10   Engaging with nature       

       Activity, engagement, intervention

       Being outdoors

       Engagement, environment and convergence

       ‘The Daoist body’

 

11   Wilderness, wildness, wildlife

       The wild

       Wildlife and hunting

       Guns, cameras, companions

 

12   Intervening in nature

       Industry and technology

       Agriculture

       The Daoist garden

 

13   Intervening for nature?

       Activism and virtue

       Environmentalism and wu wei

       Daoism and quietism

 

Notes

Reading

“Without over-burdening his text with quotations or references, and by writing in the first person, Cooper provides a succinct and readable guide through some of the meanings and implications of what he prefers to call Daodeism.”

- Martin Spray, Ecos – A Review of Conservation.

David E. Cooper was Professor of Philosophy at Durham University for many years and has been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Canada, Malta, Sri Lanka and South Africa. His philosophical interests range from environmental ethics to aesthetics, from the philosophy of language to Asian thought, from the history of philosophy to the philosophy of religion. His many books include Existentialism: A Reconstruction, World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction, The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery and A Philosophy of Gardens.



Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 168 pages
ISBN: 9780857840233
Format: 216mm x 138mm

Binding: Electronic book text
ISBN: 9780857841636
Format: Kindle

BIC Code: HRKN
BISAC Code:  NAT011000, REL024000
Imprint: Green Books


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