World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000306064
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ecosophy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Green politics, Félix Guattari, Deep ecology, Environmental justice, Ecofeminism
Collection: Ecology, Environmental Philosophy, Environmentalism, Postmodern Theory
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Part of a series on
Green politics
Sunflower symbol

Ecosophy and ecophilosophy are neologisms formed by contracting the phrase ecological philosophy.

Ecosophy is used to designate different and often contradictory (though conceptually related) concepts by the Norwegian father of deep ecology, Arne Næss, and French post-Marxist philosopher and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari.


  • Næss's definition 1
  • Félix Guattari 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Næss's definition

While a professor at University of Oslo in 1972, Arne Næss, introduced the terms "deep ecology movement" and "ecosophy" into environmental literature. Naess based his article on a talk he gave in Bucharest in 1972 at the Third World Future Research Conference. As Drengson notes in Ecophilosophy, Ecosophy and the Deep Ecology Movement: An Overview, "In his talk Næss discussed the longer-range background of the ecology movement and its connection with respect for Nature and the inherent worth of other beings." Naess's view of humans as an integral part of a "total-field image[1]" of Nature contrasts with the alternative (and more anthropocentric) construction of ecosophy outlined by Guattari.

The term ecological wisdom, synonymous with ecosophy, was introduced by Næss in 1973. The concept has become one of the foundations of the deep ecology movement. All expressions of values by Green Parties list ecological wisdom as a key value—it was one of the original Four Pillars of the Green Party and is often considered the most basic value of these parties. It is also often associated with indigenous religion and cultural practices. In its political context, it is necessarily not as easily defined as ecological health or scientific ecology concepts.

Naess defined ecosophy in the following way:

By an ecosophy I mean a philosophy of ecological harmony or equilibrium. A philosophy as a kind of sofia (or) wisdom, is openly normative, it contains both norms, rules, postulates, value priority announcements and hypotheses concerning the state of affairs in our universe. Wisdom is policy wisdom, prescription, not only scientific description and prediction. The details of an ecosophy will show many variations due to significant differences concerning not only the 'facts' of pollution, resources, population, etc. but also value priorities.
— A. Drengson and Y. Inoue, 1995, page 8

Félix Guattari

Ecosophy also refers to a field of practice introduced by psychoanalyst, poststructuralist philosopher and political activist Félix Guattari. In part Guattari's use of the term demarcates what he observes as the necessity for the proponents of social liberation whose struggles in the 20th century were dominated by the paradigm of social revolution and Marxism to embed their arguments within an ecological framework which understands the interconnections of social and environmental spheres.

Guattari holds that traditional environmentalist perspectives obscure the complexity of the relationship between humans and their natural environment through its maintenance of the dualistic separation of human (cultural) and nonhuman (natural) systems; he envisions ecosophy as a new field with a monistic and pluralistic approach to such study. Ecology in the Guattarian sense then, is a study of complex phenomena, including human subjectivity, the environment, and social relations, all of which are intimately interconnected. Despite this emphasis on interconnection, throughout his individual writings and more famous collaborations with Gilles Deleuze, Guattari has resisted calls for holism, preferring to emphasize heterogeneity and difference, synthesizing assemblages and multiplicities in order to trace rhizomatic structures rather than creating unified and holistic structures.

Without modifications to the social and material environment, there can be no change in mentalities. Here, we are in the presence of a circle that leads me to postulate the necessity of founding an "ecosophy" that would link environmental ecology to social ecology and to mental ecology.
— Guattari 1996: 264

Guattari's concept of the three interacting and interdependent ecologies of mind, society, and environment stems from the outline of the three ecologies presented in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, a collection of writings by cyberneticist Gregory Bateson.

See also


  1. ^ Næss, Arne. (1972): Shallow and the Deep. Oslo: Inquiry.


  • Drengson, A. and Y. Inoue, eds. (1995) The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology. Berkeley: North Atlantic Publishers.
  • Guattari, Félix: »Remaking Social Practices«. In: Genosko, Gary (Hg.) (1996): The Guattari Reader. Oxford, Blackwell, S. 262-273.
  • Maybury-Lewis, David. (1992) "On the Importance of Being Tribal: Tribal Wisdom." Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World. Binimun Productions Ltd.
  • Næss, Arne. (1973) The Shallow and the Deep Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary". Inquiry, 16:95-100
  • Drengson A. & B. Devall (2008) (Eds) The Ecology of Wisdom. Writings by Arne Naess. Berkeley: Counterpoint

External links

  • Ecophilosophy, Ecosophy and the Deep Ecology Movement: An Overview by Alan Drengson Accessed 2005-08-14.
  • Transversalising the Ecological Turn: Four Components of Felix Guattari’s Ecosophical Perspective by John Tinnell Accessed 2012-02-04.
  • The Trumpeter, A Journal of Ecosophy.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.