Democracy & Nature, Vol. 6, No. 2
Left-Libertarian Ecopolitics and the Contradictions of Naturalistic Ethics: The Teleology Issue in Social Ecology
Abstract: As a forum for the conception of an inclusive democracy, Democracy and Nature has been marked by a major split between supporters of the autonomy/democracy project and social ecologists. One of the major issues in this dispute has been the question of the objectivity of naturalistic ethics. Taking a critical look at social ecology’s dialectical naturalism, this article draws on political philosophy – Hegel’s critique of naturalism, Kant’s distinction between human purposefulness and organic purposiveness, and Adorno’s critical appropriation of Kant – to make the case that grounding left-libertarian ecopolitics in an ‘objective’ naturalism is an inherently contradictory project. In doing this, it seeks to make the related point that, rather than being relativistic and individualistic and thus complicit with the neoliberal apologetics of postmodernism, such a stance is an essential aspect of the left-libertarian critique of postmodernism.