Warwick Fox

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Reviews of my work

Research & Publs

Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism (US reprint edition: New York: The State University of New York Press, 1995; UK and European reprint edition: Totnes, Devon: Green Books, 1995)

  • "It is destined to be a classic in the field." -- Eugene Hargrove, editor of Environmental Ethics, advance review of the ms., carried on the cover.

  • "As a leading deep ecology scholar, Warwick Fox provides the most comprehensive and detailed examination of the development of philosophical deep ecology yet in print." -- George Sessions, co-author of Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered, advance review of the ms., carried on the cover.

  • "The best account to date of the development of deep ecology ... [and] the best and most comprehensive overview of deep ecology yet written … I urge environmental philosophers and everyone else with a concern for the relation of humans to the Earth to seek it out … Chapter six … on its own [which provides a detailed critical analysis of the main approaches in environmental ethics] is worth the price of the book: it is concise, comprehensive, reasonable, and fair." -- Alastair Gunn, Review of Toward a Transpersonal Ecology in Environmental Ethics 15 (1993): 181-83.

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Ethics and the Built Environment
(London: Routledge, 2000)

  • "[I]n the last decade scholars have begun to raise new arguments about the merits of ethics in architectural design. One of the most interesting volumes published on this topic in recent years was Warwick Fox's edited compilation on Ethics and the Built Environment (2000). In this work a range of authors, under Fox's guidance, offer a series of proposals concerning the impact of buildings on social and physical environments. The book contains a strong call for architects to design in an ecologically sensitive way and to take account of the ultimate impact of their work ... As editor of this volume Fox is to be congratulated that the chapters remain typically balanced and avoid simplistic answers in favour of encouraging more detailed consideration of these topics in future research." -- Michael Ostwald, Nexus Network Journal 10 (2008): 195-198.
  • "Although a single volume would be unable to eliminate the built environment blind spot from environmental ethics, this collection provides a rich set of ideas from which to begin." -- Emily Brady, Review of Ethics and the Built Environment in Environmental Values 11 (2002): 509-11.

  • "Hurrah for this book! First because Fox understands that '[I]f its full implications are grasped, environmental ethics represents the most general form of ethics we have. Far from being a minor, 'applied ethics' offshoot of the field of inquiry hitherto known simply as ethics, environmental ethics actually represents a vast enlargement of that field of enquiry' (p. 1). Second, because his book is devoted to the neglected branch of environmental ethics that deals with the built environment." -- Opening sentences of Alastair Gunn's review in Environmental Ethics 26 (2004): 217-20.

The closing paragraph of Gunn's four page review reads:

  • "This book is intended to kick start a long overdue debate. Fox concludes by expressing the hope that 'this field of inquiry becomes a vigorous, inspirational and practically fruitful contributor to life in the twenty-first century' (p. 228). I bet it does. If you are an architect, structural engineer, urban planner or are in any other way professionally involved in the built environment, or if you are an environmental ethicist who wants to broaden your vision to include the built environment, buy this book. If you're not, buy it for someone who is."

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A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment
(Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2006).

  • "This book is striking in its originality. It aims at a very ambitious goal: the development of an ethical theory that encompasses the domains of human relationships, nonhuman animals, and the rest of nature, including the built environment. Remarkably, it succeeds in achieving this goal." -- Andrew McLaughlin, Professor of Philosophy, Lehman College, City University of New York
  • "The idea of a general ethical theory is a powerful one that at first appears beyond the scope of any book, let alone one readable by the intelligent layperson. Yet Fox elegantly and lucidly makes a case for just such a system and explains how it may be practically deployed." --Michael J. Ostwald, Review of A Theory of General Ethics in Nexus Network Journal 10 (2008): 195-198.

  • "This is a very ambitious, very original attempt to provide ethical principles of human relations with the natural, the social, and the humanly built worlds. It is written in accessible language, forcefully and carefully argued, and makes a serious and very important contribution to philosophy." -- Roger S. Gottlieb, author of A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future

  • "This book is a knock-out! It is, as the author says, the first of its kind to develop an ethical framework to encompass everything of moral significance in our world. Difficult and complex ideas are explained in an accessible style. This is a truly original work and, I venture to say, will become a classic." -- Alastair Gunn, Department of Philosophy, University of Waikato, New Zealand

  • "Fox brings forth a great deal of intellectual importance because he provides an entire framework for ethics, greater in scope and comparable in intellectual rigor to such leading schools of thought as utilitarianism and Kantianism … Fox is making a major contribution." -- Anonymous reviewer for another (i.e., non-MIT Press) US University Press

  • "[O]ne is unavoidably impressed with the remarkable extent to which [Fox] has succeeded in producing a genuinely original and internally consistent ethical theory from square one ... This brief sketch cannot really do justice to a strikingly wide-ranging and novel work, which combines rigorous argument with occasional scholarly bombshells - for instance, many readers may be surprised to learn that Peter Singer's familiar use of Bentham's utilitarianism to promote vegetarianism is a move explicitly rejected in the original text by Bentham himself, who 'clearly argues that it is… permissible to kill nonhuman animals for food if we minimize their "torment" in doing so' (p.286), a view much closer to Fox's position than it is to Singer's. What can fairly be said, however, is that amid the signs that environmental philosophy may at last be gaining better acceptance by the academic establishment, in North America at least, the reception given to this book by mainstream philosophical thinkers and journals will be a telling indicator. If real change truly is in the air then this work will be widely appreciated and discussed - and in this reviewer's judgment, the book deserves nothing less. -- Piers Stephens, Review of A Theory of General Ethics in Organization and Environment, 21 (2008): 488-90.

  • David Keller, ed., Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), the most comprehensive environmental ethics textbook published to date, carries two papers of mine (together with a short invited response to the question "Why Study Environmental Ethics?"). One of these papers (taken from my earlier book Toward a Transpersonal Ecology) is placed as the culminating paper in the section that is devoted to papers on deep ecology (or what Keller terms, with good reason I think, "environmental psychologism"). The other - and more importantly in this context - is my paper "Developing a General Ethics: An Introduction to the Theory of Responsive Cohesion (with Particular Reference to the Built, or Human-Constructed, Environment)," which Keller has placed as the culminating paper of the core section of his book that carries classic papers regarding the value of humans, other animals, other living things, and whole ecological systems. Moreover, Keller's diagrammatic depiction of the field of environmental ethics on p. 11 of his book shows what I have termed "General Ethics" as now constituting the outermost (i.e., most inclusive) circle of his seven concentric circles, which begin with "orthodox anthropocentrism" and work out through progressively more inclusive developments in environmental ethical thinking.

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