DEEP ECOLOGY AND LIBERALISM:
The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberal Theory
Review of Politics, 58:4, Fall, 1996.
DEEP ECOLOGY AND LIBERALISM: A RECONCILIATION: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberal Theory
Modern environmentalism has two dimensions. The first emphasizes issues such as pollution and safety and can easily be addressed in the traditional language of liberal self-interest. The other calls for preserving the natural world, including old growth forests, endangered species, and wilderness. It is far less compatible with liberal views because it would often sacrifice short run human interests for the long run interests of animals, plants, and even ecosystems, thereby challenging the Promethean view of human life underlying much Western thought. This is particularly the case with its most uncompromising representatives, the “Deep Ecologists.”
Deep Ecologists advocate ethical concern for nature’s nonhuman dimensions, and regard purely human-centered ethics as morally defective. Many adherents conclude that modern society is both ecologically unsustainable and ethically immoral. They also usually argue that the principles of modern liberalism are intrinsically incapable of adequately addressing environmental concerns.  Their critics often charge that these views subvert Western civilization, agreeing with the deep ecologists about nature’s relationship to modernity, but drawing the opposite ethical conclusion.
This paper argues that both critics and advocates are more wrong than right about the compatibility of deep ecology and liberalism. Dimensions of liberal thought originating in the Scottish Enlightenment are unusually hospitable to deep ecological insights. This is not to argue that David Hume or Adam Smith were environmentalists. But the implications of their thought lead us in that direction, without abandoning liberalism.
What is “Deep Ecology?”
Coined by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, “Deep Ecology” describes the views of a number of environmental thinkers, though they arrive at their conclusions in different ways. The term refers to common conclusions derivable from many arguments. A substantial literature has arisen developing arguments for an “ecocentric” or “transpersonal” ecology, all in keeping with the tenets of Deep Ecology.
The core principles of Deep Ecology were summed up by Naess and George Sessions in the following “platform:”
1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman Life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of nonhuman life for human purposes.
2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realizations of these values & are also values in themselves.
3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs.
4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation to directly or indirectly try to implement the necessary changes.
These conclusions challenge the common assumption that the proper scope of ethical action is only the human realm. Such anthropocentric views argue that value in the natural world originates in the attitudes human beings take towards it. Trees, waterfalls, and butterflies alike possess no ethical standing, other than their capacity to serve human ends broadly defined. In themselves they have no meaning or ethically significant value.
Most modern social and political theory is anthropocentric. Even when not narrowly instrumental in its view of nature, such perspectives consider value to be in some sense distinct from the natural world. Value is at most projected onto the natural world by human consciousness. It is not there to be discovered.
By contrast, a ecocentric perspective holds that plants, animals, and even land and water merit regard and respect independently of their utility for or regard by human beings. Eugene Hargrove sympathetically but skeptically identifies the chief challenge confronting such a view: “To succeed [they] need to go beyond valuing based on the human perspective, which seems impossible.” 
Any intellectual tradition as broad and old as what we term liberalism can be subdivided in different ways. Mark Sagoff, among others, distinguishes between deontological, or Kantian, liberalism and utilitarian liberalism. Deontological liberals conceive justice as existing independently of outcomes. This is the liberalism of natural rights, of John Rawls and of Tom Regan’s animal rights theory. Utilitarian liberals argue that the goodness of policies depends entirely upon their outcomes. It is the liberalism of economic theory, of Bentham and the Mills, and of Peter Singer’s case for animal liberation.
But liberal thought can be divided up along other lines. F. A. Hayek focused on the role knowledge plays in social and political theory to distinguish between what he termed “constructivistic” or “rationalistic” liberalism and “English” or “evolutionary” liberalism. Hayek delineated the important differences between those with an optimistic and expansive view of what human knowledge could accomplish by planning for specific outcomes in public policy and thinkers with a more modest appreciation of its potential. “Constructivistic liberals” included thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, and Jeremy Bentham. They are united by the view that we can design societies to maximize specific values and ensure specific outcomes. Hayek rooted “true” liberalism in the tradition of thought descending largely from the Old Whigs, Montesquieu, and David Hume.
Useful as these different distinctions are for other purposes, neither help us in finding genuine harmonies between liberal thought and deep ecology. To be sure, there have been notable attempts. Both Tom Regan and Peter Singer have argued for a biocentric ethic often harmonious with the deep ecology platform. Regan based his case on Kantian and Singer on utilitarian foundations, respectively. But neither natural rights theory nor utilitarian theory are able adequately to make ethical sense of predation. Regan holds that predators violate the rights of their (mammalian) prey while Singer can find no ethical justification at all for predation. Yet the natural systems in which animals evolved and which maintain their existence depend upon predation. 
At least Singer and Regan try to harmonize liberal thought with a biocentric ethics. Hayek’s perspective is even less promising, arguing that
“Progress in the sense of the cumulative growth of knowledge and power over nature is a term that says little about whether the new state will give us more satisfaction than the old. . . . The question whether, if we had to stop at our present stage of development, we would in any significant sense be better off or happier than if we had stopped a hundred or a thousand years ago is probably unanswerable.
“The answer . . . does not matter.”
In addition, population pressure forces us to make increases in productivity our highest priority. It is because of the material productivity of liberal orders that the world can support its population “the population of the world has been able to increase so much, without the income of most people increasing very much . . . we can maintain it, and the further increases irrevocably on the way, only if we make the fullest possible use of that [market process] which elicits the highest contributions to productivity.” 
Harmonizing liberalism with ecocentric thought requires another slicing of the liberal intellectual pie. I distinguish between “evolutionary” and “individualistic” liberalism, a distinction in some respects similar to Hayek’s, but focusing on different issues.
“Individualistic liberalism” treats the individual as an irreducible and atomistic unit of analysis, either analytically or ethically or both. Individuals are theoretically abstracted from their relationships. A simple way of determining whether a liberal perspective falls into this category is asking whether childhood plays any role in its model of humankind. In the individualist tradition it does not. Both Hobbes’ and Locke’s man in a state of nature arrives fully formed. “Economic man” and the “Rational Actor” are similarly timeless. Rawlsian contractualism begins with adults meeting under conditions of pure ignorance.
This tradition encompasses both of Sagoff’s categories. It crosses the “left-right” political divide, including the work of Milton Friedman and Robert Dahl. Its intellectual precursors include Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Destutt de Tracy, Bentham, and the Mills. Despite their genuine and often important differences, all these thinkers can be said to take a Promethean view of humankind’s relationship with the world, for nature exists to be mastered and controlled.
The evolutionary liberal tradition conceives society and social institutions as the largely unintended outcomes of practices which were rarely consciously chosen by those practicing them. Human societies and their institutions evolve by virtue of how effectively they coordinate cooperation, even in the absence of explicit goals or plans. In a complex society cooperation requires enabling institutions and practices for it to be enhanced, because no person can have any but the tiniest view of the whole. The division of knowledge is even more important than the division of labor. If individually perceived insights and opportunities are to be useful to the community as a whole, some means for mutual adjustment and coordination of separate plans must exist. Societies and practices which succeed best in facilitating such coordination will tend over time to prevail because they liberate the creative power of the human mind in ways beneficial to all.
In Michael Polanyi and F. A. Hayek’s terms, society is a “spontaneous order” containing within it other spontaneous orders, all of which are in a continual process of internal and mutual adjustment. The economy, science, language, and custom and customary law are all spontaneous orders, or what are more commonly called self-organizing systems. I would also include democracy in this list, for in my view the greatest intellectual failure of evolutionary liberals has been their general failure to see that liberal democracies are also self-organizing processes.
Unlike conservatives, evolutionary liberals emphasize the importance of equality of status in a decent social order. People’s abilities and insights are so widely scattered that they can be most effectively put to general benefit when all are given equal status. This liberal tradition includes writers such as F. A. Hayek, Michael Polanyi, Ludwig Lachmann, Peter Berger, and Alfred Schutz. Earlier proponents were primarily the figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly David Hume, Adam Smith, and Adam Ferguson.
Childhood and acquisition of culture are of central importance in determining the possibilities for individuals and societies alike. Social processes are constitutive of individuals, and in that sense prior to the individuals themselves. In Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s words, “Society is a human product. Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product. . . . only with the transmission of the social world to a new generation (that is, internalization is effectuated in socialization) does the fundamental social dialectic appear in its totality.” 
Evolutionary liberals deny that human beings can pick and choose the societies they wish. There is no vantage point outside of society to attempt such a reconstruction. People always look at political choices from within a social standpoint they have already to some degree (but never totally) internalized. This view has often been misunderstood as simply defending the ethical and customary status quo. This is a misreading. To refer again to Hayek:
“The . . . evolution of a system of values passed on by cultural transmission must implicitly rest on criticism of individual values in the light of their consistency, or compatibility, with all other values of society, which for this purpose must be taken as given and undoubted. . . . Because prevailing systems of morals or values do not always give unambiguous answers to the questions which arise, but often prove to be internally contradictory, we are forced to develop and refine such moral systems continuously.” 
To eschew abstract models does not mean that evolutionary liberals believed no compelling generalizations about human behavior could be made. David Hume and Adam Smith developed a important insight of universal intent concerning the role played by “sympathy” in human action. Their insight ultimately leads to an ecocentric ethic.
The argument I present complements J. Baird Callicott’s work exploring the role Hume and Smith’s thought play in undergirding an ecocentric ethic. Callicott’s emphasis differs from mine, for he focuses on how sympathy could evolve within an evolutionary process to become a fundamental potentiality in human beings. Sympathy, especially for kin, is innate. But who we consider kin is more socially than genetically determined. Modern science sees us as kin to all life through evolution. Sympathy for the nonhuman world is enhanced by expanded scientific understanding, leading us towards a sympathetic ethic for all life. Callicott arrived at Hume and Smith via Darwin’s theory of sympathy’s origin in natural evolution, whereas I arrived via Hayek and the theory of social evolution as an alternative to individualistic and technocratic politics.
I focus on the necessary connection between our capacity to recognize our self-interest and our capacity to sympathize with others. This argument seems to me to shed light on the character of our sympathetic capacity, offering a way of harmonizing what otherwise appear our opposing capacities to act from self-interest and from sympathy, and to offer an even stronger (and complementary) connection with ecocentrism than does Callicott’s pioneering work.
In Hume and Smith’s day as in ours many argued that at bottom all human action was self-interested. As Hume described this view: ” passion is or can be disinterested; . . . even unknown to ourselves, we seek only our own gratification while we appear the most deeply engaged in schemes for the liberty and happiness of mankind.” Today advocates of purely economic models of social and policy analysis, rational choice, and similar caricatures of human action explicitly make similar assumptions.
Egoistic analyses fail to describe our actual experience. For example, Smith observes that when we are pleased by observing or displeased by not observing in others “fellow-feeling with all the emotions of our own breast. . . . both the pleasure and the pain are always felt so instantaneously, and often upon such frivolous occasions, that it seems evident that neither of them can be derived from any such self-interested consideration.” Still, some might suggest, experiences can be deceiving. However, the deeper analysis provided by Hume and Smith further undermines the egoistic hypothesis.
Rigorously examined, egoism defeats itself. To act in our self-interest beyond the spur of the moment we need to anticipate our future situation. To do this, we imaginatively project ourselves into our anticipated future circumstances, and on that basis choose a course of action we believe will lead to a desirable outcome. This hypothetical future self of ours does not yet exist. It is a pure projection.
Our ability to project our imagination into possible future anticipated circumstances arises from what Hume and Smith termed our sympathetic capabilities. By sympathy they refer to what we would today call empathy or, in Arne Naess’s words, “identification.” Regardless of what we call it, sympathy, empathy, or identification, this trait is not simply a passion or feeling. Hume emphasizes that “we must be assisted by relations of resemblance and contiguity in order to feel the sympathy in its full perfection.” The effective power of sympathy cannot be simply taken for granted. Smith observes that “Men, though naturally sympathetic, feel . . . little for another, with whom they have no particular connection, in comparison of what they feel for themselves.” For sympathy to be developed, our intellect, is needed to grasp or deny relevant similarities. Our predisposition to sympathy can be cultivated and strengthened, or inhibited.
Smith made the important observation that
“We can never survey our own sentiments and motives . . . unless we remove ourselves . . . . We endeavour to examine our own conduct as we imagine any fair and impartial spectator would examine it. If, upon placing ourselves in his situation, we thoroughly enter into all the passions and motives which influenced it, we approve of it, by sympathy with the approbation of this supposed equitable judge. If otherwise, we enter into his disapprobation, and condemn it.” 
The same capacities which enable us to put ourselves into our own future shoes also enable us to put ourselves into the shoes of another. In both cases we project our present self into the imagined mind of another self. Rational self-interest, which depends upon being able to anticipate the probable future consequences arising for us from something we do now, requires that we have the same capacity to sympathize with others. In both cases the capacity depends on our ability to recognize similarities in beings other than our immediate self.
Our self-consciousness along with our reason creates a capacity to care for others who are of no use to us, and whom we have never seen. Were we unaware of ourselves, we would have no basis for understanding a mind, ours or another’s. Without our reason we would have no basis for understanding experience other than our own at the time we have the experience. The greater our sense of self as a being extending over time, the greater becomes our capacity to sympathize with other beings. This is because the farther into the future our self-interest extends, the more developed our capacity for sympathy must become, since our present situation, and the temptations and pains it presents, is ever farther removed from that imagined being for whom we can effectively care. What economists label our “discounting of the future” is often due more to a failure of sympathy than a calculation of risk.
It seems to me that this argument has empirical implications. Three are particularly suggestive. First, small children have an undeveloped capacity to grasp their own self-interest, and are also often seemingly cruel. If this argument is correct, these traits would be connected.
Second, sociopaths are people seemingly incapable of empathizing with others. Although often extraordinarily manipulative, they appear incapable of maintaining long term relationships, no matter how useful such relationships would be. They also appear incapable of looking out for their own long term self-interest. Their sense of self-interest and ability to manipulate others are both apparently focused only on the relatively short run.
Third, studies of animal awareness suggests that empathy is linked to self-awareness. Those species which most unambiguously demonstrate evidence of empathy are also those which evidence self-awareness. Chimpanzees are the clearest examples, but they are hardly alone.
The more a being seems to resemble ourselves, the more easily we can sympathize with it. Because we believe our own self is largely unchanging, when pursuing our rational self-interest, we usually extrapolate our present self into our future. When the future arrives we often discover we were wrong. We will often be closer to the mark in our sympathy for a close friend today than for our imagined self ten years hence.
Hume and Smith’s concept of sympathy explains why people would want to act ethically. Sympathy inclines us to wish well being on at least all not actively injuring us. This view is neither purely deontological, for results matter, nor is it purely utilitarian, since it is sympathy which actual individuals, and not an abstract, cardinal happiness, which determines which results should matter.
Sympathy with Animals
Sympathy, Hume observed, “extends itself beyond our own species.” Some species are more like ourselves than are others. We can more easily sympathize with chimpanzees than with fish and fish more easily than with earthworms. But it is not the case that sympathy, even towards earthworms, is impossible. We have a gradation of similarities, and therefore a gradation of the possibilities for sympathy, which never fall to zero. Even the simplest forms of life can flourish or not, react to stimuli that are harmful or beneficial, and enjoy good or suffer ill health.
An observation by Aldo Leopold helps us explore these ecological implications of sympathy. Leopold wrote that while we can mourn the demise of the passenger pigeon, which none of us has ever seen, no passenger pigeon would have mourned our own passing. He concluded that “For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun.” In Leopold’s case it was such an interspecies connection, when he reached a dying wolf “in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes” that, for him, forever changed his attitude towards the natural world. “I was young then, and full of trigger itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after watching the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” Neither the wolf nor the mountain.
I will first examine the wolf dimension of his statement. How are we to know what the wolf thinks about the matter? There is supposedly a fundamental barrier to sharing experience between the human and the animal world. But this barrier, Mary Midgley reminds us, already exists between one person and another. “The barrier does not fall between us and the dog. It falls between you and me.” It is the old skeptic’s argument that I cannot know you have a mind, but hiding behind an animal rather than human example.
We have two reasons for believing that we can accurately sympathize with animals at least to a point. First, all life is related. The more closely the physical nervous system of an animal approaches our own, the stronger the burden of proof must be on those who say its experience is wholly unlike our own. It makes far more sense to say that we have important similarities with other forms of life than to wall our experience off from everything else in the world. Descartes could attempt this latter move because he believed in a traditional, literal, way in Genesis and allowed “doubt” to overwhelm common sense. But what excuse does a post-Darwinian have?
Once we admit to sharing significant traits with chimpanzees, we enter on to a continuum extending indefinitely far. The implications of this point were not lost on Charles Darwin, who wrote “I have all my life been a strong advocate for humanity to animals, and have done what I could in my writings to enforce this duty. Darwin believed that ultimately ethics would evolve to include all sentient beings, gradually expanding its scope as people came to see their similarities with ever more distant forms of life. Like Hume and Smith, Darwin believed natural sympathy provided the foundation of moral action. On this basis, the theory of evolution expanded moral consideration to encompass all life, for we can no longer hold ourselves as truly separate from others.
Secondly, those who work sympathetically with animals often get along very well with them, whereas those who do not are much less successful. How significant is this? Perhaps as significant as the same observation with regard to human beings. Midgely argues that in science “a sympathetic, respectful approach to . . . animals is far more productive, even in terms of simple information, than the traditional more remote and defensive one.” As examples, she points to the pathbreaking work of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas in studying the great apes.
Nor apparently does empathy as a means for acquiring scientific knowledge stop with animals. It extends to plants and even to subcellular life. Barbara McClintock received the Nobel Prize for her discovery that genetic elements can move in orderly ways from one chromosome to another. McClintock’s breakthrough was intimately connected to her way of studying corn.
“No two plants are exactly alike. They’re all different, and as a consequence you have to know that difference. . . . I start with the seedling, and I don’t want to leave it. I don’t feel I really know the story if I don’t watch the plant all the way along. So I know every plant in the field. I know them intimately, and I find it a great pleasure to know them.”
McClintock’s empathy did not stop with plants. She observed of their chromosomes that
“the more I worked with them, the bigger and bigger [the chromosomes] got. And when I was really working with them I wasn’t outside, I was down there. I was part of the system. I was right down there with them, and everything got big. I was even able to see the internal parts of the chromosomes – actually everything was there. It surprised me because I actually felt as if I was right down there and these were my friends. . . . As you look at these things, they become part of you. And you forget yourself.”
Evelyn Fox Keller observes that “in the relationship [McClintock] describes with plants, as in human relations, respect for difference constitutes a claim not only on our interest, but on our capacity for empathy – in short on the highest form of love: love that allows for intimacy without the annihilation of difference.” Judging from the work of a Nobel Laureate, nowhere are there reasonable grounds for saying of living beings that past a given point sympathy is impossible.
Building on the insights of Hume, Smith, and Leopold, we can conclude the human capacity for sympathy is qualitatively greater than with other animals because we are radically more self-conscious than they. Our awareness of our own self creates the capacity to be aware of other selves. Our sympathetic capacity to care for our future self entails a similar capacity to care for other selves. Self-consciousness and empathy go together.
This conclusion allows us to begin bringing together the liberal Western regard for the integrity of the individual and the deep ecological concern for the integrity of the nonhuman world. Those deep ecologists who cannot find a qualitative distinction between human beings and animals and their anthropocentric critics are both wrong. The strongest evidence for human uniqueness in the world requires at least a biocentric ethic in order for it to manifest as our ability to care for beings who are of no use to ourselves, and whom we may never even see.
Naess argues that “The ecological self is that with which the person identifies,” shifting “the burden of clarification from the term ‘self’ to that of ‘identification,’ or rather ‘process of identification’. . . .” As a person sympathetically expands his or her awareness of the relationships comprising not only themselves, but other selves as well, they see themselves as members of ever larger and more diverse communities. The result of such identification is increasing respect for nonhuman as well as human life. Other beings matter. In the absence of compelling reasons we should not interfere with them.
We now return to Hargrove’s challenge to deep ecologists that their position depends upon going “beyond valuing based on the human perspective, which seems impossible.” The “human perspective” turns out to include an open-ended capacity for sympathetic identification with the nonhuman as an essential part of what it is to be human. The “self” in its commonsense meaning is at best a way station. Those failing to develop this capacity simply operate with a diminished level of human attainment. They deserve our sympathy, but scarcely qualify as role models. But the more we develop this capacity, the less our perspective can be identified with the modern rather crabbed notion of self, and the less impact Hargrove’s criticism retains.
It is important to address a possible misunderstanding. Widening one’s sense of self can be interpreted as expanding my sense of what is mine. This is not my meaning. One could as easily write that the boundaries of my self are dissolved, to include others within a more inclusive relation of care. This is the meaning of sympathy.
Far from glorifying the rational calculator, from this vantage liberalism urges us to develop our uniquely human potential for empathy as widely and deeply as possible. The common communitarian charge that liberalism denies the possibility of a moral community is false, insofar as it is applied to the evolutionary tradition. We are led to a inspiring standard for human excellence, one largely harmonious with the world’s dominant spiritual traditions.
To the extent a person agrees with the argument I am making, he or she will want to act in a sympathetic manner towards all their relations. Ethics in its traditional garb as a set of commands and prohibitions substitutes for gaps and failures in our understanding. As such it is important for inexperienced or ignorant people. And all of us are inexperienced and ignorant to some degree. However, sympathetic relationships with others are expansions, not limitations upon our selves. In this sense as our capacity to care for others grows, we become more free.
From Biocentrism to Ecocentrism
We have dealt with Leopold’s wolf, but what of the mountain? He believed it also disapproved of his attitude towards wolves. We can begin to understand this statement by considering the experience of natural beauty. Encountering natural beauty is probably common to us all. Most philosophers would argue that beauty does not exist independently of the perceiver. I have no quarrel with this judgment, as far as it goes. But many philosophers (and almost all economists and political scientists) go farther, arguing that perceiving beauty is a subjective reaction. To the extent it does not simply reflect one’s taste, it can be accounted for by cultural conditioning.
The claim that natural beauty is simply subjective does not fit our experience. When we encounter natural beauty, we do not congratulate ourselves for having, by the power and quality of our minds, created a new instance of value in the world. More importantly, we would regard someone who did think this way as not understanding beauty as we experience it. Instead, what we experience is the discovery of beauty, a beauty experienced as in some sense separate from who we are.
A subjectivist holds that regardless of our experience, “beauty” simply refers to feelings of pleasure elicited by our encountering certain kinds of stimuli. As such, economists generally claim natural beauty can be situated somewhere within a person’s “utility function.” To be sure, differences exist between the pleasure of eating (or seeing) pop corn and the pleasure from seeing the Grand Canyon, but ultimately they are only quantitative. Both are subjective value judgments expressing our preferences. If further evidence is requested, the subjectivist will happily point out that not everyone likes either the Grand Canyon or pop corn.
Neither argument is adequate.
When I part with something of purely instrumental value to me to gain something else I value more, I am unambiguously pleased. Money and entrepreneurial action exemplify the best examples of purely instrumental value and action. An entrepreneur sells something for a profit. Had the entrepreneur not anticipated making a profit, s/he would not have obtained the goods to be sold in the first place.
It is certainly the case that many of us would sell something we regard as intrinsically valuable if offered enough money, which itself has only instrumental value. But in doing so we will not feel unambiguously pleased. Instead we feel compromised, somehow dishonest with ourselves, and seek to rationalize what we have done. We are acting similarly to how we would if we betrayed a friendship for personal gain.
In addition, we often respect a person who holds out against enormous temptation, even when we would not ourselves do so – whereas we would regard a person who held what seemed to us a pure instrumental value, such as money, as crazy if s/he did not exchange it for a resource of greater instrumental value, such as something easily salable for even more money. Why? A clue comes from Hargrove’s suggestion that “When . . . feelings of pleasure [from natural beauty] are then compared with other instrumental values that can be obtained, for example, by clear-cutting or strip-mining, the value of the aesthetic experience . . . appears trivial, ridiculous, and indeed indefensible.”
But these “trivial” feelings can provide a foundation of meaning for living a life whereas the products derived from the destruction of what elicits these feelings can not. This paradox seems a powerful reason to suspect that we are thinking about this issue inappropriately. Natural beauty provides something that pure instrumental values do not.
The experience of natural beauty is its own reward. It does not need to point to something beyond itself. Of course we perceive this beauty, but it exists as qualities which would be there whether or not we were there to see them. It makes perfect sense to say that there were probably many beautiful sunsets during the Jurassic. It makes little sense to deny this statement because there were no human beings present to see them. Our perception of natural beauty grows out of our relationship with the experience.
Attempting to price non-instrumental values automatically assaults their integrity. To argue that love or natural beauty are simply matters of taste places them in an inappropriate frame of reference in which they cannot be adequately understood. It is like my asking the price of your son or daughter. To seriously consider a monetary answer changes our experience from seeing something as rewarding in itself to being a means to a separate reward. We move from one perceptual world into another. This is why when someone does succumb to temptation, and sells something which is fundamentally of intrinsic value to them, they feel bad.
When most impressed by beauty in nature, we experience it without comparing it with anything else. We do not analyze it, breaking the beauty of a mountain up, saying this part is beautiful and that part is not, without first withdrawing from the immediate experience of its beauty. As soon as we attend to a part, say an aspen grove, we can begin the same process all over again. What parts of the grove are most beautiful? Again, we distance ourselves from the experience, again taking on an evaluative perspective, and so lose touch with the grove as well. The experience becomes a member of a class. In important respects, more is lost than is gained by such an exercise. In particular, perceiving intrinsic value is lost from sight even if instrumental values might thereby be more clearly delineated. It is very destructive when applied to human beings we love. It is equally destructive when applied to beautiful mountains.
Michael Polanyi’s discussion of using a probe helps clarify my point. If we use a probe attending only to the shocks and other sensations we receive in the palms of our hands, the instrument will be all but useless. If, on the other hand, we focus our attention on the tip of the probe, we can tell a great deal from using it. In the process of focusing on its tip, we experience the probe is an extension of our bodies, yielding information we could not obtain without it. In this case it is physical information which can later be verified buy other means.
To account for this phenomena, Polanyi distinguished between subsidiary and focal awareness. When my focal awareness is on the probe’s tip, I am subsidiarily aware of its feel in my hand, but not conscious of it. As soon as I shift my focal awareness to my hand, I lose touch with the meaning I receive from the probe’s tip. Focal and subsidiary are mutually exclusive forms of awareness. Polanyi concluded that
Our subsidiary awareness of tools and probes can be regarded now as the act of making them form a part of our own body. . . . we shift outwards the points at which we make contact with the things that we observe as objects outside ourselves. While we rely on a tool or a probe . . . . [w]e pour ourselves into them and assimilate them as parts of our own existence.
Note the similarity between this account and McClintock’s description of how she perceived chromosomes. The same process holds, I think, when we experience natural beauty. We are focally aware of the mountain and subsidiarily aware of its parts. In this instance we are not gaining information about the shape or texture or depth of something, but rather another kind of quality – that deeper significance of what we are experiencing, which we call beauty. As Robinson Jeffers put it, “the human sense of beauty is our metaphor for their excellence.”
This deeper significance can change our sense of self in a way that using a probe does not. Skillful use of a tool enlarges our power to accomplish instrumental ends. What is experienced as outside of me is still treated as an object for my manipulation. The probe extends myself, helping me to do something, and that is why I am using it. In the case of experiencing natural beauty, however, my frame of mind is not manipulative. It is open and accepting. The experience is of encountering something which is intrinsically bigger, deeper, and more valuable than my daily concerns. It allows me in, but is in some sense bigger and deeper than I am.
It might appear that I am simply describing a subjective experience. This objection downplays three facts. First, this same approach yields reliable information not otherwise available when applied to our instrumental concerns, as with the skillful use of a tool. Indeed, Polanyi argues powerfully that this tacit dimension is the basis of all our knowledge. Second, if there is some thing or quality in nature separate from ourselves and which is beautiful, there is no other way by which people could experience it. Third, those who experience beauty in this way all say it is different from a simple preference of taste, and in many cases people change the way they live their lives as a result of the experience.
Returning to Leopold’s account of the dying wolf, the evaluating mind, deciding that wolves are “bad” and out of place in the wilderness where it encountered them, destroys the wilderness experience. The boundary between self and nature is strengthened, as crucial interdependent elements within the experience become separated. Once separated, the person is able to act as judge, prosecutor, and jury for all that is encountered. Whatever fails to measure up to externally imposed standards becomes disposable, an obstacle, trash, or vermin. These judgments are based on narrowly human instrumental purposes. They are quite different from seeking to live in harmony with the land, a practice which does not draw such sharp boundaries, and so leaves one open to experiencing its beauty. N. Scott Momaday captured this alternative perspective when he wrote “You say I use the land, and I reply, yes it is true; but it is not the first truth. The first truth is that I love the land; I see that it is beautiful. I delight in it; I am alive in it.”
Momaday helps us answer the objection that conceptions of beauty are historically and culturally contingent. Anyone with much awareness of different societies will notice that within them the arts take on very different forms. Even within our own culture, one generation’s music is often another generation’s noise.
We do not find such wide variations in people’s responses to nature. Appreciation for the beauty of wild nature is hardly a quality unique to prosperous citizens of the industrial West. It appears to be virtually universal within all cultures, though not in all people. To be sure, people can be taught to fear nature. But the beauty, even the sacredness, of the natural world is a common theme in religions around the world. Asian and Native American cultures had well developed senses of the beauty and even sacredness of nature. So did pre-Christian Europe. And when Europe was Christianized, nature’s beauty was used to glorify God.
Those who seem most blind to natural beauty are those who focus narrowly upon nature as either a source of or an impediment to acquiring wealth. This is precisely what we would expect, given Polanyi’s analysis of the difference between tacit and focal awareness. When one is focused on acquiring wealth, one never sees the mountain. One sees narrowly, and everything becomes either resource or obstacle. What needs explaining is not those who experience beauty in nature but those who do not. The blind should not regard sight as subjective, nor argue that what it reveals simply corresponds to the observer’s preferences.
Leopold was unusually insightful when he wrote that the mountain would not agree. To experience the mountain in its entirety he had to give up a calculating attitude towards it. When he did, he experienced beauty, an experience which included the entire gestalt “mountain,” including the wolves that lived there. If that experience was to be maintained, he would have to relate to it in a respectful way, quite different from that which regarded a fundamental element of its biological community as fit only for extermination.
With this argument we have moved from a biocentric position, finding intrinsic value in life, to an ecocentric one, which finds intrinsic value in nature as such. The natural world is beautiful. Its beauty can only be experienced to the extent that we open ourselves up to it in a non calculative way. As with sympathy for all life, we transcend what is usually considered the “human point of view” inorder to experience the intrinsic value of the land.
Since this value can be experienced only to the extent we do not approach it instrumentally, but rather are open to the experience, there is an important sense in which we can truly say, we discover beauty that was there all along. To discover beauty it is we, and not the land, that must change. We expand our selves in order to let the experience in. If there is intrinsic value in the land, surely it would be impossible for people to experience it in any other way. This is also the basis for sympathetic perception. Polanyi’s model of tacit knowledge can incorporate Hume and Smith’s insights into a framework uniting evolutionary liberalism with ecocentrism. It turns out that one source of human uniqueness is our capacity to widen our senses of self to be indefinitely inclusive. As we do so, we become deep ecologists.
Our recognition that other entities are not simply tools for our use, in Warwick Fox’s words, “changes the context of discussions concerning the question of sufficient justification in a crucial way, namely, it reverses the onus of justification.” Fox elaborates that “This amounts to a revolution in our treatment of the nonhuman world that is comparable to the difference for humans of a legal system that operates on a presumption of guilt until innocence is proved beyond a reasonable doubt and one that operates on a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” Fox leads us to a deeper understanding of a potentially harmonious relationship between the practical implications of deep ecological and liberal thought, one based upon a vision of nested communities.
Communities can be distinguished by the relationships which most typically characterize them. We participate in an enormous number of communities, many themselves composed of smaller communities. Some communities are in principle open to all either because they are all inclusive, as with nature and the larger society, or because they can be duplicated for everyone, as with families and local communities. The well being of these four communities takes reasonable priority over those which in principle exclude some people.
Different contexts govern the expression respect and regard take within these four communities. Some are suitable to loving intimacy within a family, others are best applied to complete strangers within the larger society. In all these communities the character of the relationships defining membership is more central than any notion of abstract individuality. Intimate solidarity or legal contract are both rooted in respect – but manifested in very different contexts. Respect and regard underlie love and affection within the family, friendship and standing within the neighborhood, and liberal rights within the larger society. Further, these relationships can easily “impinge” on what would appear to be self-interest if individuals were conceived in purely abstract terms. All members play legitimate though not necessarily equal roles and have legitimate interests which should be recognized. While many of these relationships have an instrumental dimension, no member of a community may appropriately be treated only as a means to our ends. The interests and preferences of other members never count for zero.
Liberal rights are the form respect takes among a large and relatively impersonal community of social and political equals. Liberal civil and political rights facilitate cooperation among strangers pursuing mutually unknown ends. This is why they are necessarily abstract.
When we have detailed knowledge of one another’s individual capacities and character, it will frequently be unfair to treat everyone the same. A friend who has accidentally fallen on hard times will be treated differently than a friend who has done so through profligacy. For the first, a true friend will extend financial aid if able, whereas an act of friendship for the second may well be to refrain from offering aid, thereby encouraging the other finally to “grow up” and act responsibly.
When we do not know the details of a person’s situation, or the reasons for it, it is more fair to apply the same standards to all than apply generalizations based upon less than universal criteria. This reasoning explains why liberal ethics seem different from those applying to a family or small community. Actually they are harmonious with one another, once questions of scale and knowledge are taken into account.
The family, local community, larger society, and world of nature comprise vital elements of a good human life. Public policy should seek to provide an environment conducive to harmonizing and sustaining the relationships which sustain all four. Heretofore most liberal thinkers have recognized only purely human communities, (and have often slighted some of them). If my arguments are sound, we must conclude that this anthropocentric bias is not justifiable.
Individuality and the Natural Community
What most distinguishes the natural community from others is that its membership is made up of individuals in two capacities: as individuals and as species. It is often the individual-as-species which is most central. The common interest of an ecological community is the well-being of the species comprising it. The most frequent objection to this argument is that species are not individuals and so cannot have interests. Biologist Julian Huxley’s response to this objection seems to me quite reasonable. Huxley wrote
“Whenever a recurring cycle exists (and that is in every form of life) there must be a kind of individuality consisting of diverse but mutually helpful parts succeeding each other in time, as opposed to the kind of individuality whose parts are all coexistent. The first constitutes . . . species individuality, or individuality in time, while the other corresponds to our ordinary notions of individuality.” 
In the natural world the concept of individual as we apply it in the human realm is inadequate. Bees, ants, and termites certainly are not individuals in the human sense. They cannot live by themselves. A slime mold is even farther removed. Normally it exists as thousands of independently living amoebae. But these one celled individuals can coalesce to create a multicelled being which crawls along the forest floor until it stops and sends up a spore packet which opens, dispersing spores, enabling it thereby to reproduce. In the natural world the individuality of species may in some cases be more firmly rooted than the individuality of some “single” organisms.
Taken as a whole, a species embodies a particular way of living in the world. No individual member can completely manifest this potential. Animals must learn how to live in the world to a much greater extent than we once thought, and their learning creates the opportunity for creativity and differentiation. Indeed, even bacteria appear capable of learning. In the course of a single lifetime a human being can explore only the tiniest portion of human potential. For the human species that potential far exceeds that of any human group. But this point holds to some degree for other species as well.
Being a member of a community cannot be reduced to the interests of an abstract individual because abstract individuals lack embeddedness in the concrete relations which make them individuals in the first place. In nature these concrete relations can take on a particularly paradoxical character. Except for the top of the food chain, most individuals sooner or later end up as meals for others. Further, the well-being of the natural community requires it.
For example, as a species, deer would ultimately suffer if all predators that eat deer were eliminated – however much certain individual deer might benefit. As a species, deer possess a “public interest” that is not the sum of the interests of individual abstract deer. No deer has an interest in being eaten. Yet, over time, more individual deer will benefit when appropriate predation insures the long-term well-being of their species, than would be the case in its absence. Predation ultimately benefits all species comprising the natural community.
The time horizon of an ecological community dwarfs that of any individual member of a species within it . With this statement it might appear that I have abandoned my argument for a sympathy based environmental ethic, substituting a species based argument that can be used to easily sacrifice individual organisms. I do not think so. There is no contradiction between respecting a being as valuable in itself and seeing that it exists in a necessary set of relationships which ensure that it will die. That, after all, is true for all of us. But this does not give us leave to cause death by whim.
Integrating Liberalism and Deep Ecology
When we grasp the distinction between the time horizon of an ecological community and that of the individual members of species within it, we can better understand the most basic tension between ecological and liberal social systems. In liberal societies individual time horizons ultimately determine all economic and many political issues. For example, the market is guided in significant part by the rate of interest, which discounts heavily against the future. In agriculture market processes increasingly dominate agricultural realities which are ultimately dependent upon ecological processes. The fit is sometimes poor. Farmers, borrowing to plant, must pay back their loans on a predictable schedule on pain of foreclosure. Harvests vary from good to bad with variations in weather and other natural factors. Often the land is ruined as the natural regenerative processes of the land are disconnected from the social processes of the market.  Any time a sustainable industry dependent upon natural processes becomes dependent upon financial markets, this problem arises.
“Boundary problems” such as this exist when communities ordered along different forms of respect interpenetrate. Analogous problems exist between families and the local community and between both and the larger society. In each case the sets of clashing principles are legitimate, and it is impossible to establish a clear rule for determining which should have priority. The problem is not intrinsically less soluble for society – nature interactions than it is for other areas of similar tension.
Conflict between universal liberal claims and the values of other communities can only be fairly handled when these communities can protect themselves from being subjected to the standards of the abstract society. This necessitates creating countervailing power, not the abolition of the liberal order. Because nature cannot enter into judicial proceedings, human “representatives” must be allowed to act in her stead.
Just as we rightly value diversity and individuality within human communities, they should be valued within the ecological community. As our understanding of our relationships with others becomes richer and more varied we ourselves become richer, with more dimensions to who we are. We then more fully embody our innate human potential for sympathy and its resulting deep individuality rather than the shallow individuality exemplified by models of economic man and rational choice.
It is interesting to note that the processes of mutual adjustment and development which characterize both evolutionary and ecological science were first discussed by the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment in the context of social theory. In its modern form, the insight that society evolves was developed by Bernard Mandeville in a series of works from 1705 to 1728. Mandeville argued that many advantageous social outcomes arose from people acting for quite different reasons. Hume later developed Mandeville’s insights into a sophisticated theory of social evolution. Other leading members of the Scottish Enlightenment continued this tradition. Hayek observes that Hume had even been aware his evolutionary arguments could apply to the development of life itself, although he did not follow up on his insight. Long before Darwin, the idea of evolution had become well known in 19th century social science. The theory of evolution finds its roots in the Scottish Enlightenment as one example of self-organizing processes. The evolutionary liberal framework delineates a true model of social ecology, lacking only adequate grounding in the natural world.
The advantage of any self-organizing system, social or natural, is that it can effectively integrate far more information than could be grasped by any participant. Further, it can allow a great variety of individual projects to be pursued, each in a way which, on balance, generates information and resources useful for other people to pursue their plans. The more a system incorporates self-organizing processes the more creative and intelligent it will become in its interactions with its wider environment.
It is here that the evolutionary liberals can teach ecocentric thinkers. For obvious reasons, deep ecologists have been very critical of liberal market society. As a result, deep ecologists often take positions which ignore the evolutionary liberal criticisms of political direction, and insights on how to approach problems, even when these arguments would contribute mightily to their own understanding of why political control has such a darkly checkered record when applied to environmental issues.
And yet, fundamentally, the ecocentric perspective is in harmony with basic evolutionary liberal thought. One of the few deep ecologists to delve deeply into social theory in the development of her argument, Joanna Macy arrived at a position remarkably similar to characterizing evolutionary liberals. Macy argued that
“A totalitarian society might seem to be more unified and coherent than a free one, and seem to display in its apparent discipline an ideological “group head.” Yet, to the extent it discourages differentiation between its subsystems and hampers the voluntary flow of information, its mentality . . . is on a more primitive level than that of a free one. At the other extreme, a society where individuals and groups are not ready to assume transpersonal loyalties and responsibilities is not integrated enough effectively to self-organize. Fractured and incoherent, it remains on a low level of adaptability and awareness.” 
But Macy goes beyond evolutionary liberal thought in contending that “a social system is . . . . dysfunctional within the larger systemic hierarchy when it cannot integrate its members to exist in harmony with other societies or with the ecosphere.” This multiple community insight across species boundaries is the core contribution that Deep Ecologists can make to the evolutionary liberal paradigm. It focuses attention on the question of border problems. This is the environmental equivalent of the concern that the liberal order depends upon customs and communities which it cannot generate and may undermine.
How should liberal society relate decently with the nonhuman world? An insight of Hayek’s helps to orient us. Expediency, when used to evaluate a prospective immediate gain against a prospective future loss will be biased in favor of the promised present gain. In self-organizing systems it will frequently appear that specific interventions which override their constitutive principles will quickly lead to desired outcomes. But this interventions disrupt the process of mutual adjustment which maintain the system as a whole, disrupting its capacity to adjust to change and reducing its ability to serve the maximum number of participants. This is why Hayek argued that in public policy principles should trump expediency. Hayek’s point holds equally with our interactions in the natural world. But what principles should they be? Clearly, principles which enable the environmental community to sustain itself.
A major sustaining principle is that using a renewable resource should be in harmony with its indefinite renewal. In using an ecosystem for resource extraction, actions such as polluting ground water, destroying soil fertility, and eliminating ecosystems such as salmon rivers and old growth forests would be inadmissible.
Second, putting resources to use must maintain a diverse flora and fauna. There can be no right to cause extinction of a harmless form of life nor even ones which occasionally can be lethal to us such as grizzly bears, great white sharks, or mountain lions, (all of whom combined kill fewer people each year than do domestic dogs). As species are the primary component of an ecological community, maintaining viable species which are not actively and significantly detrimental to human well – being should be accorded substantial legal protection.
A third principle is that recyclable and biodegradable production should be encouraged. The wastes every organism produces are useful to others, except for some of those characterizing modern society. Thus, there should be a powerful presumption against creating products which do not biodegrade, recycle, or otherwise convert to another useful state. This presumption is at its strongest with regard to toxic wastes. Landfills are not so much a crisis as a symbol – of a culture which seeks to take, and give nothing back. Certainly those products of human life which can be returned to the environment in a productive way, such as sewage sludge, should be.
These principles are not subversive to the well-being of the other basic communities to which we belong, although they will limit certain activities some people currently take for granted. They are, however, central to maintaining the environmental community’s indefinite sustainability. Their rigorous observance is therefore as ethically justified as are the basic rules forbidding violence, theft, and invasion within purely human communities.
These three principles are prudential. Wisdom requires they be respected. A fourth principle is rooted in our humanity. More fundamental to a uniquely human existence, it is less enforceable by law. This principle is that nothing living can be ethically treated as a pure means – and very likely nothing in nature as such should be so treated either. This does not imply that we cannot cut trees, harvest crops, or eat meat. But the larger relationships within which consumption occurs should not be concerned only with human well being.
The centrality of respect is the fundamental insight underlying the legitimacy of liberalism itself, as well as situating liberalism itself within the larger framework of relationships which constitute human existence. The four principles arising from it challenge the traditional liberal interpretation of private property.
Property rights define power relations. Every society has some form of property rights. Liberal societies are rooted to a large extent upon private ownership of property rights. We do not own “property” so much as we own bundles of property rights. Each right determines a type of relationship within which I may appropriately enter with another person or with the thing owned. The richer and more numerous the property rights which may be bought and sold on the market, the more complex the resulting market order becomes.
Nevertheless, not every relationship should be made a property right. Slavery has been appropriately banned, even though at one time there was a market price for slaves and, in Virginia, even a slave breeding industry. When the right to own slaves was abolished the market order did not collapse, although the market for slaves did. This limitation on what could be legitimately bought and sold within the market was a net gain for human well-being, even if it did destroy a way of life thousands of years old.
A similar perspective holds for practices destructive to our wider natural community. Some contemporary property rights are also illegitimate. The right to ruin one’s soil or seriously reduce genetic diversity within a species located on one’s land are examples of inappropriate property rights.  In their absence we would most definitely not see the demise of the market. We would no more distort the price system or reduce entrepreneurial opportunities than did eliminating slavery. We would return neither to the Middle Ages nor the Pleistocene. The goals are in no way antithetical to liberal modernity.
Liberalism has been the most powerful opponent of political despotism, defined as the exercise of arbitrary power within a community. But by equating the nonhuman world with property, and both with property rights, it has sheltered a realm where every person can act the despot. To claim land and what lives upon it “is my property and I can do what I want with it” turns out to be no more defensible than similar claims within the state, neighborhood, or family. The linkage between evolutionary liberal and deep ecological insights mutually strengthens the underpinnings of both.
This linkage goes a long way towards rebutting a powerful criticism that has been made against liberal political thought. For example, John Gray, a former liberal, takes liberalism to task for its claim to universal authority. According to Gray, “Liberalism . . . is in its political demands an expression of intolerance, since it denies the evident truth that many very different forms of government may, each in its own way, contribute to an authentic mode of human well-being.”
Liberal thought, Gray argues, is simply one point of view among many, contingent on the particular circumstances characteristic of modern Western civilization. It supposedly carries no special weight when applied to other peoples in other times.
This paper suggests, to the contrary, that liberal principles of human rights and limitations on arbitrary power do in fact accord with basic insights about all human beings everywhere when rooted in Hume’s recognition of sympathy, or empathy, as the inseparable companion to self-interest. Further, respect for community members is a value which informs almost all communities, including those as far removed from modernity as hunting and gathering societies. Respect for others is a legitimate demand to make upon anyone who wishes to make decisions for him or her self. There is no such thing in practice as abstract respect. It always exists within a context, some of which will be quite different from those prevailing in modern liberal societies. But respect as such is a value able to enter into every peaceful interaction.
This foundation for liberal political and social principles also limits them. Liberal political principles are not applicable to every society. They would be largely irrelevant in a tribal village. But they do apply whenever a society is large enough to consist largely of strangers, or indeed whenever strangers interact. Liberal political principles are a scale dependent expression of how sympathy manifests through respect for others. And even when they do not directly apply, as within a small village, the forms of political and social interaction which appropriately follow in these other societies will be harmonious with liberal principles.
The interests of the abstract society do not automatically trump smaller societies or nature. Insofar as their relationships are rooted in respect, families and small communities take precedence over the abstract society whenever their vital interests come up against the less vital interests of the larger society. Similarly, the vital interests of the ecological community take precedence over the less than vital interests of human communities. Gray could only contest this argument if he would argue that predation and parasitism constitute “authentic modes of human well-being.” There is nothing either new or particularly interesting in such a nihilistic position, and Hume and Smith provide ample reasons why it should be rejected.
 A classic presentation of this point of view is Bill Devall and George Sessions, Deep Ecology (Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1985), pp. 2-3, 6-7, 42-61. See also Christopher Manes, Green Rage (Boston: Little Brown, 1990). A more balanced discussion which still concludes that liberal thought has had little impact upon environmental political theory is Robyn Eckersley, Environmentalism and Political Theory: Toward an Ecocentric Approach, (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992), 23-24.
 Anna Bramwell, Ecology in the 20th Century: A History (New Haven, Yale, 1989) p. 248; Alston Chase, In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Rising Tyranny of Ecology, (New York: Houghton Mifflen, 1995)
 See Alan Drengson, The Deep Ecology Movement, and Harold Glasser, Deep Ecology Clarified: A Few Fallacies and Misconceptions, The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, 12:3, Summer, 1995.
 Two excellent introductions to deep ecological thought are Alan Drengson and Yuichi Inoue (eds.), The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology, (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1995) and George Sessions (ed.) Deep Ecology for the 21st Century: Readings on the Philosophy and Practice of the New Environmentalism (Boston: Shambhala, 1995). Among the authors developing specific arguments for deep ecology, see Arne Naess, Ecology, Community and Lifestyle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); J. Baird Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic, (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989; Warwick Fox, Toward a Transpersonal Ecology, (Boston: Shambhala, 1990); Dolores LaChapelle, Sacred Land, Sacred Sex, Rapture of the Deep: Concerning Deep Ecology and Celebrating Life (Silverton, CO: Finn Hill Arts, 1988); Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, (New York: Ballantine, 1966); Joanna Macy, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory, (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1991); Holmes Rolston, Environmental Ethics, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988);and Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild, (San Francisco: Northpoint Press, 1990).
 Devall and Sessions, p. 70.
 Eugene Hargrove, Weak Anthropocentric Intrinsic Value, After Earth Day, Max Oelschlaeger, ed., (Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 1992), p. 152.
 Mark Sagoff, The Economy of the Earth, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 152
 F. A. Hayek, Liberalism, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 119-151.
 The classic case for animal rights is Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). The utilitarian case is best made in Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 2nd ed., (New York: New York Review of Books, 1990). Each fell short of the Deep Ecology platform. Regan limited rights to mammals and Singer excluded plants and many simpler life forms from “liberation.”
 Reagan, op. cit., p. 296; Singer, op. cit., 226.
 See the collection of essays in The Animal Rights/Environmental Ethics Debate: The Environmental Perspective, Eugene Hargrove, ed., (Albany: SUNY, 1992) See in particular J. Baird Callicott, “Animal Liberation: A Triangular Affair”, pp. 37-69.
 F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, (Chicago: Regnery, 1960), p. 41.
 F. A. Hayek, The Atavism of Social Justice, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978) p.65.
 Hayek, The Use of Knowledge in Society, Individualism and Economic Order, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), pp. 77-91.
 Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. I: Rules and Order, Vol. II: The Mirage of Social Justice, Vol. III: The Political Order of a Free People, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973, 1976, 1979); Michael Polanyi, The Logic of Liberty, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951).
 Gus diZerega, Democracy as a Spontaneous Order, Critical Review, 3:2, Spring, 1989. I have applied this model to illuminate a number of important issues in democratic politics. See Democracies and Peace: The Self-Organizing Foundation for the Democratic Peace, Review of Politics, 57:2, Spring, 1995, pp. 279-308; Federalism, Self-Organization and the Dissolution of the State, Telos, No. 100, Summer, 1994, pp. 57-86; Elites and Democratic Theory: Insights from the Self-Organizing Model, The Review of Politics, 53:2, Spring, 1991, 340-372, Equality, Self-Government and Democracy: A Critique of Dahl’s Political Equality, 41:3, Sept. 1988, pp. 447-468.
 Thomas Luckmann and Peter Berger, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Anchor, 1967), p. 61. See also Alfred Schutz, The Structures of the Life-World, (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1973), chapter 4. Berger is often considered a conservative, but in Hayek’s sense is a liberal.
 Alfred Schutz, Structures , 289; “On Multiple Realities,” Collected Papers, vol. I., A.. Broderson, ed., (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1964), pp. 207-259.; Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday 1969) p. 16.
 Hayek, The Errors of Constructivism, 1978, pp. 19-20.
 J. Baird Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, (Albany: SUNY, 1989), particularly “Hume’s Is/Ought Dichotomy and the Relation of Ecology to Leopold’s Land Ethic”, and “On the Intrinsic Value of Nonhuman Species”, 117-155. See also his “Can a Theory of Moral Sentiments Support a Genuinely Normative Environmental Ethic?” Inquiry, 35, pp. 183-198.
 Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic, p. 125.
 Callicott, “Can a Theory of Moral Sentiments Support a . . . Environmental Ethic?” p. 184. Hayek, “The Results of Human Action but not of Human Design,” and “The Legal and Political Philosophy of David Hume,” Studies on Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969) pp. 96-121.
 David Hume, An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, appendix II., in David Hume, Moral and Political Philosophy, Henry D. Aiken, (ed.), (New York: Hafner, 1948), p. 270.
 See the excellent critique of these models in Steven E. Rhoads, The Economist’s View of the World: Government, Markets, and Public Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
 Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1969), p. 10; Hume, “Of Self Love,” Moral and Political Philosophy, pp. 270-275.
 Richard D. Alexander, The Biology of Moral Systems, (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1987), p. 160.
 I owe this analysis to Henry D. Aiken’s introductory essay in his collection of Hume’s writings. It was this essay which first clarified for me the logic of Hume’s argument against egoism. Hume, Moral and Political Philosophy, Aiken, (ed.), (New York: Hafner, 1948), pp. xxi-xxxvi.
 Arne Naess, Identification as a Source of Deep Ecological Attitudes, in Deep Ecology, Michael Tobias, (ed.) (San Diego: Avant Books, 1985), pp. 256-270.
I use the term “sympathy” somewhat differently than does James Q. Wilson in his The Moral Sense, (New York: Free Press, 1993). Wilson also argues for a basic moral sense, based on the insights of Adam Smith. But, he seems unaware that Smith built upon the work of Hume. Perhaps this is why he misreads Smith’s use of “sympathy” to refer to compassion rather than to empathy (p. 131) Compare with Smith, 1969, pp. 161-2, 125. The other moral senses Wilson includes – fairness, self-control, and duty, seem to me derivable from the underlying sense of empathy central to Hume and Smith’s thought.
 David Hume, Treatise on Human Nature, Bk. II, sec. ii, in Hume, Moral and Political Philosophy, p. 7.
 Smith, op. cit., p. 125.
 Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic , pp. 121, 151-2.
 Ibid., pp. 161-162.
 Hume, Treatise on Human Understanding, Pt. II, sec. vi; Sec. ix, In Aiken (ed.) pp. 227, 258. See Henry Aiken’s introductory essay, pp. xxiii. I am uncertain whether Aiken clarified what is implicit in Hume, as it certainly is, or whether Hume fully grasped this point himself, for in Pt. II, Sec. v he noted “It is needless to push our researches so far as to ask why we have humanity or a fellow feeling with others.” (p. 212)
 Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), pp. 66-71, 229-230 n. 32. See also Gordon Gallup, “Self-Awareness and the Emergence of Mind in Primates,” American Journal of Primatology, 1982, 2, pp. 237-248.
 Callicott, “Can a Theory of Moral Sentiments Support a Genuinely Normative Environmental Ethic?”, pp. 186-9.
 Hume, Treatise on Human Nature, Bk. III, Part. II, sec. i., in Aiken, (ed.) p. 52.
 John A. Fisher, “Taking Sympathy Seriously: A Defense of Our Moral Psychology Toward Animals, The Animal Rights/Environmental Ethics Debate, ed. Eugene Hargrove, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 227-248; J. Baird Callicott, “Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Back Together Again, In Defense of the Land Ethic: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 49-59.
 Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970), p. 117.
 Ibid., pp. 138-9.
 “Anthropomorphism may be the only example of a notion invented solely for God, and then transferred unchanged to refer to animals.” Mary Midgley, Animals and Why They Matter, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), p. 125.
 Ibid., p. 13.
 Quoted by Donald Worster, The Economy of Nature: A History of Ecological Ideas, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 181.
 Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, New York: Modern Library, pp. 471-511, esp. 492. See also Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic, p. 119; Donald Worster, Nature’s Economy, op. cit., pp. 180-184; Roderick Nash The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989, pp. 42-45.
 Colin Tudge, Last Animals at the Zoo, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1992), pp. 193-240. See also John Fisher, Taking Sympathy Seriously: A Defense of our Moral Psychology Toward Animals in Hargrove, (ed.), Animal Rights/Environmental Ethics. op. cit.
 Mary Midgely, Science as Salvation, (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 78. See also Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), p. 123.
 Keller, Gender and Science, p. 164. See also Linda Jean Shepherd, Lifting the Veil: The Feminine Face of Science, (Boston: Shambhala, 1993), pp. 70-74.
 Ibid., 165.
 Ibid., p. 164. See also her A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1983).
 Quoted in Fox, Transpersonal Ecology, p. 230.
 Hargrove, op. cit., p. 152.
 Ariel Salleh, Class, Race, and Gender Discourse in the Ecofeminism/Deep Ecology Debate, Environmental Ethics, 15:3, Fall, 1993, p. 229.
 Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, (Cambridge, 1982) 54-65
 I am not arguing that this is the only legitimate definition of freedom. It is, however, one important kind of freedom.
 Hargrove, op. cit., p. 159.
 Abraham Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, (New York: Viking, 1971), p. 69.
 While I will not discuss Polanyi’s political philosophy, it is strongly connected to his epistemology. Science and other liberal institutions are discovery systems wherein a community of practitioners seeks to persuade their peers. Standards are not objective but rather rooted in the community’s commitment to certain values. See “The Republic of Science: Its Political and Economic Theory” Knowing and Being, Marjorie Grene, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969) and The Logic of Liberty, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951).
 Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 59.
 Robinson Jeffers “The Inhumanist,” The Double Axe (New York: Liveright, 1977), p. 57. quoted by Ron Erickson, review of Eugene Hargrove, ed., The Animal Rights/Environmental Ethics Debate: The Environmental Perspective, in Environmental Ethics, Fall 1993, vol. 15, No. 3., p.284.
 N. Scott Momaday, “A First American Views His Land,” National Geographic, July 1976, p. 18. Quoted in Hans Peter Duerr, Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary Between Wilderness and Civilization (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), pp. 241-42.
 Christianity has received a very one sided treatment by many environmental thinkers, who often blame it for our environmental crisis. For a corrective, see Ernest Fortin, “The Bible Made Me Do It: Christianity and the Environment” The Review of Politics, 57:2, Spring, 1995, pp. 197-224. However, English Protestantism, at least, is let off the hook too easily. See Gary B. Deason, “Reformation Theology and the Mechanistic Conception of Nature,: God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter Between Christianity and Science, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), pp. 161-191.
 See Lewis P. Hinchman, “Leopold’s Hermeneutic of Nature,” Review of Politics, 57:2, Spring, 1995, pp. 225-249 and David Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More than Human World, (New York: Pantheon, 1996).
 I believe this argument unites the two approaches to Leopold’s work developed by Callicott and Hinchman. See Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic, and Lewis P. Hinchman, “Aldo Leopold’s Hermeneutic of Nature.”
 Warwick Fox, “What does the Recognition of Intrinsic Value Entail?” The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Vol. 10, No. 3, Summer, 1993, p. 101.
 Indeed, it is not going too far even at the physical level to say that individuality is a community endeavor. See in particular the work of Lynn Margulis, for example. “Microcosmos” in Connie Barlow, ed., From Gaia to Selfish Genes: Selected Writings in the Life Sciences, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1992) pp. 57-66, and with Richard Gurrero, “Two Plus Three Equals One: Individuals Emerge from Bacterial Communities” in William Irwin Thompson, ed., Gaia 2: Emergence: The New Science of Becoming (New York: Lindesfarne Press, 1991), pp. 50-67.
 Stephen Macedo, Liberal Virtues: Citizenship, Virtue, and Community in Liberal Constitutionalism, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 56.
 Julian Huxley, Blurred Bounds of Individuality, in Barlow, (ed.) From Gaia to Selfish Genes, op. cit., p. 73.
 On slime molds, see John T. Bonner, The Evolution of Culture in Animals, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 73-76. On biology and individuality generally see Leo W. Buss, The Evolution of Individuality, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).
 Evelyn Fox Keller, “Between Language and Science: The Question of Directed Mutation in Molecular Genetics” Secrets of Life, Secrets of Death: Essays on Language, Gender and Science (New York: Routledge, 1992) , pp. 161-178
 Wendell Berry, “The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Agriculture,” The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1977), 27-38; Joseph Rowe, “‘Pas de Pays Sans Paysans’ Sustainability vs. Agribusiness-As-Usual in France” Whole Earth Review, Winter, 1993, 42-49; William Poole, “Another Way to Log,” This World, San Francisco, May 27, 1990, 7-8.
 Christopher Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects, ((William Kaufmann, Inc.: Los Altos, CA, 1972).
 Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978, pp. 249-66.
 Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967, pp. 106-121; Christian Bay, The Structure of Freedom, 1958, pp. 33.
 Hayek, 1967, p. 119
 Hayek, 1967, pp. 96-121. Contrast with Harre, 1981, p. 164 and Toulmin, 1981, pp. 179-187; who appear unaware of this background
 This liberal social ecology contrasts strongly with the “social ecology” promoted in the writings of Murray Bookchin. Among Bookchin’s voluminous writings, see in particular The Ecology of Freedom, (Palo Alto: Cheshire Books, 1987). For a critique, see Gus diZerega, “Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism, Critical Review, 6:2-3, spring-summer, 1992, pp. 305-370.
 Two excellent essays from an ecocentric perspective which probe these matters more deeply than the usual deep ecological discussions are Neil Evernden, “Ecology in Conservation and Conversation” and Michael E. Zimmerman “The Future of Ecology” both in After Earth Day: Continuing the Conservation Effort , ed. Max Oelschlaeger, (Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 1992), pp. 73-82, 170-183.
 Joanna Macy, op. cit., pp. 200-201.
 Macy, op. cit., p. 201.
 Hayek, Rules and Order, op. cit., pp. 55-71.
 Erik Furubotn and Svetozar Pejovich, “Property Rights and Economic Theory: A Survey of Recent Literature,” Journal of Economic Literature, Dec. 1972, p. 1139
 Mark Sagoff, Takings, Just Compensation, and the Environment, Upstream/Downstream: Issues in Environmental Ethics, Donald Scherer, (ed.), (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990) pp. 158-179.
 John Gray, Liberalisms: Essays in Political Philosophy, (London: Routledge, 1989), p. 239.
1 thought on “Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberal Theory”