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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Environmental hermeneutics is a relatively recent stance within environmental philosophy that built on the insights and theories from philosophical hermeneutics. Philosophical hermeneutics starts with the idea that humans are essentially interpretative beings that seek to understand meaning. Hermeneutics traditionally focuses on the understanding and interpretation of texts; environmental hermeneutics seeks to expand this scope to include environments and landscapes. The starting point is the idea that the world we inhabit is always already interpreted and infused with meanings, and that environments matter to people as normative context that help them make sense of their lives. Environmental hermeneuticists examine the role of interpretation and conflicts of interpretations in human relations with environments and explicate how these are intertwined with notions of environmental identity. This chapter presents and discusses some key thoughts and ideas from philosophical hermeneutics, focusing on Gadamer and Ricoeur and examines how these might bear on environmental philosophy.

Keywords: environmental hermeneutics, interpretation, meaning, narrative, environmental identity, effective history, Gadamer, Ricoeur, distantiation, appropriation

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