Welcome to the Association for Ecophilosophy!
Ecophilosophy deals with issues regarding the future of the Earth and dignity of humankind. Within a broad philosophical framework we investigate the cultural roots of today´s environmental issues.
The purpose of the association is to be a meeting space for people who are interested in ecophilosophical questions, to spread information about the subject ecophilosophy as well as to contribute to the discussing of ecophilosophical perspectives in the social discourse.
Activities include courses, study trips and workshops. All members are encouraged to contribute to the activities of the association, which are aimed at enthusiasts from all over the country.
Read more about ecophilosophy and the association below.
What is ecophilosophy?
Ecophilosophy is based on a commitment to the future of the Earth and the dignity of humankind. The subject is not a doctrine, and shouldn´t be interpreted as dogmatic. In fact, one of the main preconditions of the subject is that there is a diversity of standpoints and perspectives within it.
The subject works with examining the major environmental- and social problems facing us by relating them to their philosophical and cultural roots. This includes an in-depth perspective when trying to understand these issues and when trying to formulate new and meaningful questions.
Ecophilosophy should not be thought of as a coherent intellectual tradition. Examples of traditions within ecophilosophy include deep ecology, philosophical ecofeminism and social ecology.
Ecophilosophy as a subject stresses the need for a diversity of traditions within its boundaries. Within ecophilosophy there should be room for different standpoints and open discussion is encouraged. Ecophilosophy wishes to inspire the drafting of several traditions, which can contribute to alternative interpretations and thus proposed solutions to environmental and social issues. The first step is to immerse ourselves to deepen our understanding of the questions.
An important task for ecophilosophy is to investigate the basic assumptions underlying the interpretations of environmental issues. Examples of this might be «technology as solution» or «ethical positions». Ecophilosophical analysis takes upon itself to examine different topics, such as our view of human beings, nature, knowledge, the foundations for action, power structures and normality.
An in-depth cultural analysis is another tool which we make us of in our investigations of ecophilosophical questions. As one of several possibilities is utilized the concept of «room of understanding». The purpose of the concept is to show that the basic assumptions about the world, that make up the room of understanding in which today´s environmental issues are embedded, are crucial to how the issues are perceived and treated. The concept of room of understanding can be used, for instance, in an analysis of non-European cultures and historical eras.
Ecophilosophy was "born" out of environmental activism; the Norwegian philosophers Sigmund Kvaløy Setereng, Johan Galtung and Arne Næss participated in occupations, along with Sami and other locals, to stop the exploitation of the Alta river in the Norwegian county of Finnmark. The occupations dragged on, so there was plenty of time for in-depth conversations about what they were really doing there. They agreed that environmental issues needed to be addressed and examined on a deeper level, with a wider analysis. What is an environmental issue, and how can it be understood from a philosophical perspective?
In Sweden Karlstad University was the first to give university courses in ecophilosophy, and the first course was started in 1977 by Pontus Örtendahl. Here a special focus was put on examining environmental- and social issues from a philosophical and cultural perspective, which was often expressed as dealing with the future of the Earth and dignity of humankind. The room of understanding of different cultures and interpretations of concepts such as human being, nature, quality of life, morality and knowledge were investigated.
Earlier the courses at Karlstad University were called ecosophy, however a few years back the name was changed to ecophilosophy, to clarify the links with other places where the subject is studied, for instance in Norway, where ecophilosophy is the generic name in use.
An important part of ecophilosophy, from its inception, was action, i.e. not to stop at an in-depth understanding of these questions, but also to do something about them. What then should be done will of course be the next interesting question...
And this is where ecophilosophy as a subject does not hold a certain position, but instead calls on one and all to do so, either for oneself or with others.
The Association for Ecophilosophy
The Association for Ecophilosophy was founded in 1996 by people who had studied courses in ecophilosophy at Karlstad University. The purpose was to keep the conversations and discussions about the ecophilosophical questions alive outside of the university.
The association is open to anyone who is interested in involving themselves with questions pertaining to the future of the Earth and dignity of humankind, all who wish to participate and deepen, review and broaden the understanding of how the major environmental- and social issues are to be grasped - and managed. This last bit is important - for if we do not act it does not matter whether or not we reach some conclusion...
We are a completely non-profit organization, which depends on the commitment of its members for things to happen within the assocation. What do you want to do? Perhaps others share your interests, formulate your proposal - together we can make it happen! Come to our courses, summer academy, workshops, annual meetings and tell us about your idea, or send us an email via the mailing list (email@example.com).
Anyone interested in ecophisosophical questions are welcome as members in the Association for Ecophilosophy.
Why should you become a member?
- You can parttake in activities for free, such as courses, study trips, workshops and more, and together with others immerse yourself in ecophilosophical questions. You can also have an influence over what the association should get involed with in the future,
- You benefit from members´ privileges, such as receiving our digital magazine "Förståelserum" ("Room of understanding", in Swedish) 4 times per year, as well as being able to vote at the general assemply of the association (usually held in March or April),
- You show support for the Association for Ecophilosophy and its activities,
- You will also receive regular updates (via the mailing list) about what is happening in the association, with activities and study trips et c.
Read more here on what you must do to become a member.