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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2020, Vol. 15 Issue (1) : 53-72
Joining the Transformation of Nature—The Post-Natural and Confucian Perspective on Earth Stewardship in the Anthropocene
TENG Fei()
Department of Philosophy of Science and Technology, School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
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The emergence of the Anthropocene creates a new set of conditions for understanding the relationship between human power and the natural world. These conditions include an increasingly humanized and de-natured natural world, and greater responsibilities of stewardship for human beings. In current literature, there are diverse views on the meaning of the Anthropocene and the role of modern technology in future earth stewardship. Post-natural thought regards the Anthropocene as representing the end of nature, and thus appeals to disenchantment with respect to the idea that nature is an external moral norm. Although this approach correctly addresses the significance of locality and the mutuality between humans and the environment, it fails to provide us with adequate normative boundaries for preventing the endless artificialization of nature. Alternatively, this article defends the position that Confucianism is a more plausible philosophical ground for earth stewardship in the context of the Anthropocene. The Confucian approach is an inclusive humanism which is established on the cosmological ideal of realising the virtue of shengsheng 生生 (life generation) in all beings. Moreover, Confucian ethics draw much attention to the self-regulation of human beings as virtuous persons. This is indeed what is needed in the age of the Anthropocene.

Keywords Anthropocene      earth stewardship      technology      Confucianism      post-natural thought     
Issue Date: 31 March 2020
 Cite this article:   
TENG Fei. Joining the Transformation of Nature—The Post-Natural and Confucian Perspective on Earth Stewardship in the Anthropocene[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(1): 53-72.
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