An appraisal of the critique of anthropocentrism and three lesser known themes in Lynn White's "The historical roots of our ecologic crisis"

Ben Minteer, Robert E. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lynn White Jr.'s essay, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," which first appeared in Science in 1967, has long been a cornerstone in the environmental studies literature. Yet subsequent research in the natural and social sciences, as well as in the environmental humanities, challenges many of White's key assumptions and claims in this classic article including the uniquely dynamic presence of humans within a stable natural order, the pernicious metaphysical and moral implications of agriculture, the antiecological implications of democracy, and the direct linkage between the worldview of philosophical humanism (anthropocentrism) and environmental destruction. Although still relevant to current discussions about the cultural and historical roots of scientific and technological problems, White's essay requires critical revision if it is to remain useful in clarifying the historical and cultural foundations of contemporary ecological attitudes and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalOrganization and Environment
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005

Keywords

  • Critique of anthropocentrism
  • Ecological change
  • Environmental ethics
  • Environmental history
  • Lynn White Jr.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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