The Eco-Genesis of Ethics and Religion


  • Freya Mathews Latrobe University



Environmental ethics, origins of meaning, origins of religion, value-neutrality of science, normativity of ecology, story


In face of environmental crisis we urgently need global agreement on the moral significance of the biosphere. Environmental philosophers have tried to reason their way toward such moral accord by devising arguments for environmental ethics. But moral ‘truth’ does not ultimately emanate from reason; rather it is hatched inside stories, the kind of primal stories that have been the province of myth and religion. Historically, such stories have been inescapably culturally specific and relative. Is it possible in the modern world to imagine a common story, one that could emanate in a global moral commitment to our increasingly stricken natural world? Science may constitute a universal form of knowledge but it does not afford a story because stories are inherently normative, and science is normatively neutral. Yet a universal story, one that can be seen to subtend religion and ethics and meaning itself, is indeed currently coming into view.

Author Biography

  • Freya Mathews, Latrobe University
    Adjunct Professor of Environmental Philosophy, Philosophy Program, Latrobe University.


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How to Cite

Mathews, F. (2011). The Eco-Genesis of Ethics and Religion. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 5(3), 263-283.