The Noetics of Nature: Environmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible

The Noetics of Nature: Environmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible

by Bruce V. Foltz

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Contemplative or “noetic” knowledge has traditionally been seen as the highest mode of understanding, a view that persists both in many non-Western cultures and in Eastern Christianity, where “theoria physike,” or the illumined understanding of creation that follows the purification of the heart, is seen to provide deeper insights into nature than the discursive rationality modernity has used to dominate and conquer it.

Working from texts in Eastern Orthodox philosophy and theology not widely known in the West, as well as a variety of sources including mystics such as the Sufi Ibn ‘Arabi, poets such as Basho, Traherne, Blake, Hölderlin, and Hopkins, and nature writers such as Muir, Thoreau, and Dillard, The Noetics of Nature challenges both the primacy of the natural sciences in environmental thought and the conventional view, first advanced by Lynn White, Jr., that Christian theology is somehow responsible for the environmental crisis.

Instead, Foltz concludes that the ancient Christian view of creation as iconic—its “holy beauty” manifesting the divine energies and constituting a primal mode of divine revelation—offers the best prospect for the radical reversal that is needed in our relation to the natural environment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823254668
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 11/11/2013
Series: Groundworks: Ecological Issues in Philosophy and Theology
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author

Bruce Foltz is Professor of Philosophy at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Founding President of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy. He is the author of Inhabiting the Earth: Heidegger, Environmental Ethics, and the Metaphysics of Nature (Humanities Press)
and The Noetics of Nature: Environmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible (Fordham University Press), as well as coeditor of Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation (Fordham University Press). He is finishing a new monograph to be called Nature and Other Modern Idolatries.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Noetics of Nature
1. Whence the Depth of Deep Ecology? Natural Beauty and the Eclipse of the Holy
2. Nature's Other Side: The Demise of Nature and the Phenomenology of Givenness
3. Layers of Nature in Thomas Traherne and John Muir: Numinous Beauty, Onto-theology, and Polyphony of Tradition
4. Sailing to Byzantium: Nature and City in the Greek East
5. The Resurrection of Nature: Environmental Metaphysics in Sergei Bulgakov's Philosophy of Economy
6. The Iconic Earth: Nature Godly and Beautiful
7. Seeing Nature: The ria Physik in the Thought of St. Maximus the Confessor
8. Seeing God in All Things: Nature and Divinity in Maximus, Florensky, and Ibn 'Arabi
9. The Glory of God Hidden in Creation: Eastern Views of Nature in Fyodor Dostoevsky and St Isaac the Syrian
10. Between Heaven and Earth: Did Christianity Cause Global Warming?
11. Nature and Other Modern Idolatries: Kosmos, Ktisis, and Chaos in Environmental Philosophy
12. Traces of Divine Fragrance, Droplets of Divine Love: the Beauty of Visible Creation in Byzantine Thought and Spirituality

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