The Nature of Being Human: From Environmentalism to Consciousness

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JHU Press, Mar 19, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 299 pages
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Although the physical relationship between the natural world and individuals is quantifiable, the psychosocial effect of the former on the latter is often less tangible. What, for instance, is the connection between the environment in which we live and our creativity? How is our consciousness bounded and delimited by our materiality? And from whence does our idea of self and our belief in free will derive and when do our surroundings challenge these basic assumptions?

Ecocritic Harold Fromm's challenging exploration of these and related questions twines his own physical experiences and observations with insights gathered from both the humanities and the sciences. Writing broadly and personally, Fromm explores our views of nature and how we write about it. He ties together ecology, evolutionary psychology, and consciousness studies to show that our perceived separation from our surroundings is an illusory construct. He argues for a naturalistic vision of creativity, free will, and the literary arts unimpeded by common academic and professional restraints. At each point of this intellectual journey, Fromm is honest, engaging, and unsparing.

Philosophical, critical, often personal, Fromm's sweeping, interdisciplinary, and sometimes combative essays will change the way you think about your place in the environment.

  

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Contents

Introduction From Environmentalism to Consciousness
1
ECOLOGY
11
NATURE AND EVOLUTION
133
CONSCIOUSNESS
231
Notes
279
Index
289
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Harold Fromm is a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona whose writings on the self, the environment, and academia have been widely read and debated. He is the coeditor of The Ecocriticism Reader and the author of Academic Capitalism and Literary Value.