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Japanese Environmental Philosophy$
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J. Baird Callicott and James McRae

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456320.001.0001

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Whitehead’s Perspectivism as a Basis for Environmental Ethics and Aesthetics

Whitehead’s Perspectivism as a Basis for Environmental Ethics and Aesthetics

A Process View on the Japanese Concept of Nature

(p.123) Chapter 7 Whitehead’s Perspectivism as a Basis for Environmental Ethics and Aesthetics
Japanese Environmental Philosophy

Steve Odin

Oxford University Press

There exist parallels between the Buddhist concept of Indra’s Net and the notion of moral perspective-taking. According to Alfred North Whitehead’s process metaphysics, the aesthetic continuum of nature is an organization of perspectives, whereby each occasion is akin to a Leibnizian monad, or metaphysical point, each functioning as a living mirror that reflects the entire universe from its own unique standpoint as a microcosm of the macrocosm. The metaphysical perspectivism underlying Whitehead’s ecological concept of nature along with a brief consideration of how Whitehead’s perspectivism illuminates the Japanese aesthetic concept of nature can be visualized by the poetic metaphor of Indra’s Net. Whitehead’s Leibnizian perspectivism was reformulated by George Herbert Mead, and later by Lawrence Kohlberg and Jürgen Habermas and can be integrated into an ethical procedure for moral perspective-taking, whereby free moral agents learn to put themselves into the perspectives of others in the community.

Keywords:   Indra’s Net, Alfred North Whitehead, process, Lawrence Kohlberg, Jürgen Habermas, perspectivism

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