The Ecological Citizen: Confronting human supremacy


Long article

Knowing more and acknowledging others

Kenneth Shockley

The Ecological Citizen Vol 7 No 1 2024: 27–34 [epub-098]

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First published: 24 October 2023  |  PERMANENT URL  |  DOWNLOAD CITATION IN RIS FORMAT


The essay focuses on the interwoven nature of the epistemic and the ethical. While it is well known that there is an epistemic advantage to approaching a shared concern from multiple points of view, and that basic norms of respect require acknowledging the legitimacy of other points of view, there is an important connection between the two that should be emphasized: only through respecting those other points of view as legitimate is that epistemic advantage fully available. Other points of view, human and nonhuman, need to be acknowledged as legitimate in their own right. This acknowledgement requires a form of humility, a recognition of the limitations of one's own point of view, and has great pedagogical potential. As students share new experiences with one another, particularly as they discover new places whose meanings are collaboratively constructed, this humility becomes an invaluable pedagogical tool. Once students understand the importance of points of view far removed from their own, a lesson common in environmental literature and reinforced through shared experience of place, it is easier to acknowledge the legitimacy of more-than-human points of view, and, accordingly, accept what it means to be a citizen in an ecological community.



Ecological empathy, Education, Intrinsic value, Values