Hylozoism and why Everybody in Class will Think I’m an Idiot


Next week in Environmental Philosophy we will be discussing deep ecology. Says Wikipedia, “deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of other beings, aside from their utility.” We’re also going a bit beyond that, exploring the opinion that EVERYTHING in nature has inherent worth, including non-sentient things like mountains and rocks and sand.

Of course, as we were having our initial discussion before we delve into the literature for next week, one of the prominent comments I heard was that the view that ALL things in nature have inherent worth (to the extent that humans have worth) is “stupid.”

So I can already tell next week’s going to be difficult.

As I’ve blogged about before, I identify myself with Hylozoism (or panpsychism, it depends on how you define things). Loosely, it’s the belief that all matter is, in some sense, “aware” or has a conscience*. As such, I can’t really place myself in opposition with the view that things like mountains or sand lack a worth comparable to the worth of, say, a dog or a pigeon or even a tree.

I can’t put my finger on EXACTLY why a Hylozoistic viewpoint overlaps with deep ecology in a sense and I can’t really explain EXACTLY why this viewpoint is probably going to get slaughtered next Thursday, but I’m pretty sure it will be. I think I might just keep my mouth shut the whole time, haha.

Whatever. I’ll probably say more about this after next Thursday, so be prepared.

*But not necessarily consciousness as humans experience it.

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