Conceiving the Earth Itself as Our Garden

  • W. S. K. CameronEmail author
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 21)


In this chapter, Scott Cameron contends that the North American and European perspectives on nature both capture essential but partial truths. The North American focus on wilderness occludes two very different perspectives under which the world was ‘always already’ humanized: the ancient, biblical view of the first humans as co-creators of the world (Adam and Eve as the namers, analogues of which are still common in many aboriginal wisdom traditions), and Nietzsche’s post-modern variant celebrating our recreating the world by re-naming and re-valuing it. On both these views, the Earth is originally ours, both as home and in trust as our garden. Yet there is, nonetheless, an important warning in the romantic aspiration to commune with nature unsullied. Cameron’s goal is to highlight an inescapable but productive tension between understanding the world as already humanized and desiring to respect its inherent value. He stresses that we can achieve the latter only by recognizing the former; and he proposes the ancient metaphor of the earth as a garden to help keep both perspectives in view.


Ordinary Language Language Game Standpoint Theory Linguistic Turn Willful Blindness 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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