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The Relevance of RomanticismEssays on German Romantic Philosophy$
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Dalia Nassar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199976201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199976201.001.0001

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Romantic Empiricism after the “End of Nature”

Romantic Empiricism after the “End of Nature”

Contributions to Environmental Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.296) 16 Romantic Empiricism after the “End of Nature”
Source:
The Relevance of Romanticism
Author(s):

Dalia Nassar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199976201.003.0017

Over the last two decades, environmental theorists have repeatedly pronounced the “end” of nature, arguing that the idea of nature is neither plausible nor desirable. This chapter offers an environmental reappraisal of romanticism, in light of these critiques. Its goals are historical and systematic. First, the chapter assesses the validity of the environmentalist critique of the romantic conception of nature by distinguishing different strands within romanticism, and locating an empiricist strand in the natural-scientific work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Second, the chapter considers the systematic significance of Goethe’s “romantic empiricism,” and argues that while an abstract notion of nature is problematic, a concrete conception achieved through the mutually supportive work of observation and reflection is essential for environmental thought.

Keywords:   environmental philosophy, nature, romanticism, empiricism, Goethe, environmental ethics, Naturphilosophie, critique of romanticism, romantic science, epistemic obligation

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