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Research Article Open Access

Essentialism as a Key-Concept for Environmental Policy


Based on a brief historical and epistemological review of essentialism, on one hand, and empirical and calculative methods of thinking and acting, in connection with instrumental rationalism, on the other, the aim of the present work is to prove that environmental problems and their management can’t be studied and efficiently faced unless they are essentially understood as ensuing social phenomena and actions, which are deeply interwoven with our utilitarian approach of thinking and acting, and should be faced with essentially enlightened political actions. And that is, because within this market oriented utilitarian society–where superficial profit is the ultimate goal, and profit prevails over socioethical standards, ecological equilibrium and sustainability and a substantial well-being–it is dangerously insufficient to address ethical and in particular environmental issues in a positivistic way, superficially using empirically based quantitative methods and instrumental rationalism without essentially grounded approaches of the socio-political, ethical and environmental issues and without a philosophical reflection on intellectual and moral qualities. So, sociο- ethical and political philosophy should address all these issues, and politics should aim at the promotion of the virtue of the citizens and their intellectual and moral qualities. To accept this crucial view means, subsequently, to radically change our philosophy of life, and to deeply understand and properly act, especially aiming at the formation of a society that essentially and prudentially seeks its happiness, and will subsequently undertake all the necessary interventions, in order to face also the today’s acute environmental issues.

Joannis N Markopoulos

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