Is JFK speech ethos logos or pathos?
John White This article first appeared in Environmental Philosophy, vol. His research interests include environmental philosophy, phenomenology, German idealism, and medieval philosophy. I seek, in this paper, to elucidate the nature of ecological value cognition and suggest specific challenges the American capitalist ethos poses for understanding these values and therefore for developing a sound environmental ethics and policy.
By this term, I designate a cognitive process by which one understands three things: In the following essay, I want to elucidate the nature of ecological value cognition, in particular against the background of American capitalism. If successful, this treatment of the issue will illuminate not only ecological value cognition as such but also some of the specific challenges the American capitalist ethos poses for environmental ethicists and policy makers.
I shall then use this method to elucidate phenomenologically some significant social factors which form ecological value cognition in American society.
Finally, I will suggest some potential ethical and policy implications Why buy ethos arise from this 1 analysis. While I certainly will not be ending on a happy note, this analysis should at least bring us to a clearer awareness of both the challenges posed to the environment in our current social climate and the directions of change necessary to attain a fuller and richer moral vision of the environment.
II To understand the social factors implicit in ecological value cognition, we need to develop a specific kind of method, one which can articulate a hermeneutic of socially shared environmental experience. Some of what I shall argue here on the conceptual level may therefore require justification beyond purely philosophical types of evidence.
Nonetheless, I believe phenomenological insight into these issues can give Why buy ethos to our thinking as well as guide such empirical study. I shall therefore develop something of a philosophical sociology of knowledge, in the light of three assumptions.
The first assumption, which I draw from Max Scheler, is that the basic cognitive factor in terms of which one experiences and understands the world morally and practically is value.
For the values we take to be primary tend to be the values in terms of which we interpret our world morally and practically. Even the least perception, I believe, is not typically left to sit idle in the immanence of human experiencing but also tends to manifest itself in meaningful ways.
Finally, my third assumption in part follows from the other two: Hence we can in some measure understand basic value experiences of a given social unit through their expression in the thought, art, morals, language, and religion of that culture.
However, the link between the experienced and symbolic phenomena is not a one-way relationship. Though the genetic analysis of symbolic forms, I suggest, links it back to value experience, the basic terms in which value experience is interpreted by a given cognitive agent tends to be taken from the interpretive options determined already by the existing cultural ethos.
Thus though the symbolic forms originate in value experience, an existing symbolic form can in turn affect how later value experiences are interpreted. Hence, a hermeneutic circle exists here, even if genetically a kind of priority is granted to value experience.
I recognize, of course, that any one of these three assumptions, let alone their combination, pose potentially controversial points of view though the second less than the other two. I cannot at this point defend these assumptions because the limits of a paper-length study requires that I spell out the method but leaves little enough space for treating of the controversies it implies.
Still, it is necessary to formulate these suppositions, even if without argument, because the method I use in what follows presupposes the logic of ethos.
Since a paper of this length cannot undertake this analysis in a comprehensive way, I am forced to choose one common symbol I believe expressive of the value experience at hand to illustrate by central point.
For my purposes, it will be best to choose a symbol associated with central institutions of capitalist culture. I also 3 restrict myself to a language symbol, though other cultural symbols may be just as apt for such an analysis.
III Understanding ecological value cognition requires first of all that we articulate something of the experience of ecological values. Based on the method outlined above, I will begin by choosing one language symbol I believe expressive of the experience of such values under the American capitalist ethos.
The link of the jargon of natural resources with industrial production is significant for more than one reason.
First of all, there is an implicit assumption embedded in this language that such resources are value neutral, i. Neither of these implicit assumptions is tenable. What counts as a resource of any kind is culturally determined: Secondly, therefore, terming some entities natural resources, far from being value neutral, demonstrates the inherently value-charged character of the language: But what it indicates, I submit, is that even in the institutions most representative of the American capitalist ethos, there is an underlying axiological experience of the environment.
For whereas some of us might think that ecological values imply a kind of normativity, one would not typically suggest that the major agents of industrial capitalism experience that same normativity — or at least acknowledge it.
What would explain this implicit variation in value experience? This suggests at least three distinct elements in the process: In our above example of natural resources, there was some axiological phenomenon experienced in the environment; there was also its interpretation, in terms of the value of environmental entities for industrial production; and there was finally its symbolic expression in the jargon of natural resources.
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