Vol 28 No 1 (2012)
Articles

Chaos or Relationalism? A Pragmatist Metaphysical Foundation for Human-Nature Relationships

Neil Kessler
University of New Hampshire
Published June 7, 2012

Abstract

Pragmatist philosophy is often rooted in a chaotic notion of the nature of the universe. Given that many have argued for pragmatism’s application to environmental ethics, it remains to be seen whether such a chaotic metaphysics a) best describes the nature of observable experience and b) is the best metaphysical basis for attempts to improve the human-nature relationship. I contend that what is taken to be chaos is actually just the observed complexity of a fundamentally relational universe. In this essay, I’ll explore the difference between these two metaphysical positions and examine their respective effects on concepts of human-nature relationships.