Dr. Larysa Karachevtseva

April 10th until October 09th, 2022

Affiliation: H. S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine / Ukraine

Research for a study about:

The Environmental Crisis as an Ethical and Existential Challenge of Nowadays

    Purposes and aims. The purpose of the research is to explore the notion of ethics in the context of global environmental crisis. Traditionally, ethics and morality have been diagnosticians and moderators of human relations. However, today it is important to re-evaluate the basic moral principles and ethics as mediators between human and nonhuman realms.

    Project relevance. The environmental crisis is one of the most essential problems nowadays. The decay of the natural environment, that is the result of man’s elevation over other living beings, not only directly affects the ability of future generations to have a decent life, but questions the planet’s future per se. Recent scientific observations and researches inform about the global environmental catastrophe. Its visible signs are recognized in the climatic imbalances, such as temperature jumps, natural disasters, extinction of many species of flora and fauna, the rapid deterioration of living conditions due to reduced quality of basic natural resources (air, water, earth). Today, environmental decay questions both nature and human life. However, the global environmental crisis is more than just the issue of civilizational expansion into nature. It includes the crisis of humanity and society, the crisis of values and moral norms. The researchers diagnose that the man’s activity not only causes many natural disasters, but threatens the Being per se. Therefore, the current environmental crisis has been characterized as an universal ontological crisis. The sense of the last is in facing radical ethical change, when nature itself becomes an ethical subject. This is a fundamental revision of the principles of ethics which has been related so far to the realm of human interactions. Thus, today’s philosophy rethinks the universal notions (the Good, the will, moral imperatives, justice, etc.) by expanding its traditional senses.

    Main idea. The project is guided by the hypothesis that nature is the new Other. The fundamental ethical reorientation, provoked by the ecological crisis, leads to the reconsidering the very sense of ethics and ontology.  Facing the new circumstances, philosophy redefines ethical norms and values, rethinks the sense of man’s authenticity and man’s position in the world.

    Basic tasks. The ethical and existential rethinking of the environmental crisis has a number of theoretical tasks. Firstly, it is a description of the environmental crisis as a key problem of ethics and ontology. It means a new redefining of ethical norms. Secondly, it is an exploration of the concept of non-stable (or ‘fluid’) ontology. Today nature and the environment cannot be identified as cosmos or universe, as the features of permanence and giveness could not be attributed to them. It maintains new relations between the man and the Being. As well it highlights the importance of human positioning (subjectivity) amidst the unstable reality, man’s vocation and authenticity. Thirdly, it is a thorough investigation of the ethical and ontological “turn” either in philosophy or in sociology and law. It also involves rethinking the basic philosophical concept of the Good.

    Methods and approaches. In the project, different methods and approaches are used. The most important methods of the research are phenomenological, hermeneutic and transcendental. The phenomenological method is represented in versions of modern French phenomenological thought that directly or indirectly explore the problem of living beings (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michelle Henri, Marc Richir, Emmanuel Levinas). The transcendental method is presented in the ways Charles Taylor and Hilary Putnam interpret it. The hermeneutic method (Hilary Putnam, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology) is a tool to show the ambiguities of the problem.




The Environmental Crisis as an Ethical and Existential Challenge of Nowadays

Date:   May 27th, 2022

Time: 2.30 pm (CET)

Venue: Lecture hall 2H at the NIG