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Exploring the Intersection of Whitehead and Ecological Civilization

By Jeremy Fackenthal

This summer EcoCiv board member Herman Greene, EcoCiv managing director Jeremy Fackenthal, and Bangalore-based scholar Kurian Kachappily will organize and speak at a session on “Whitehead and Ecological Civilization: Ecology, Ethics, Economics, and Law” at the 12th International Whitehead Conference at the University of Brasilia in Brazil. The conference celebrates the work of early 20th century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, heralded as a foundational thinker in process-relational philosophy and a view of the world as organic, evolving, and interconnected. The session will include presenters primarily from China, Australia, and the United States on topics relating ecological civilization to jurisprudence, bioregionalism, and systems paradigms.

The term ecological civilization is now used by a number of process-relational philosophers to denote a worldview in which we recognize the value of all entities; indeed, it is one in which humans show concern for other humans and non-human entities alike. Forming such an ecological civilization requires rethinking the philosophical grounding of societies and how they are organized and function. Imagining and patterning an ecological civilization involves both concern and creativity—concern for all forms of life, and creativity in the ways we shape societies. This section at the International Whitehead Conference is interested in examining how the two themes of concern and creativity contribute to Whiteheadian understandings of ecology, ethics, economics, and law as they are manifest in an emerging ecological civilization. 

Fostering dialogue among process-relational scholars on the topic of ecological civilization is an important aspect of our emerging work on Ecological Civilization Studies (ECS). ECS seeks to promote scholarly and visionary work at the highest levels in order to catalyze thinkers across a number of disciplines around the notion of an ecological civilization. EcoCiv views this scholarly work as vital to our future success because it deepens our understanding of how future sustainable societies should look, increases collaboration among multiple fields of study, and orients top scholars around the most pressing topics of our time.

EcoCiv invites all of our colleagues in Latin America and friends in the process-relational community to attend this session at the International Whitehead Conference and to think with us on the myriad components of an ecological civilization.

Header Photo: Wikipedia

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