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Infinite Nature

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who categorically opposes protecting the environment, yet most people would agree that the environmentalist movement has been ineffectual and even misguided. Some argue that its agenda is misplaced, oppressive, and misanthropic—a precursor to intrusive government, regulatory bungles, and economic stagnation. Others point out that its alarmist rhetoric and preservationist solutions are outdated and insufficient to the task of galvanizing support for true reform. 

In this impassioned and judicious work, R. Bruce Hull argues that environmentalism will never achieve its goals unless it sheds its fundamentalist logic. The movement is too bound up in polarizing ideologies that pit humans against nature, conservation against development, and government regulation against economic growth. Only when we acknowledge the infinite perspectives on how people should relate to nature will we forge solutions that are respectful to both humanity and the environment.

Infinite Nature explores some of these myriad perspectives, from the scientific understandings proffered by anthropology, evolution, and ecology, to the promise of environmental responsibility offered by technology and economics, to the designs of nature envisioned in philosophy, law, and religion. Along the way, Hull maintains that the idea of nature is social: in order to reach the common ground where sustainable and thriving communities are possible, we must accept that many natures can and do exist.

Incisive, heartfelt, and brimming with practical solutions, Infinite Nature brings a much-needed and refreshing voice to the table of environmental reform.

232 pages | 1 line drawing, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2006

Biological Sciences: Conservation, Ecology

Earth Sciences: Environment


"Some environmental scientists and pro-business economists may disagree with R. Bruce Hull for opening the debate up to a myriad of voices and views, but Hull makes a convincing case for moving the discussion from name calling to deliberative respect. And Earth deserves no less."

Biology Digest

"Infinite Nature takes the reader on a kaleidoscopic journey that provides a comprehensive and evocative description of the multiple perspectives from which we observe, understand, and value nature. . . . What prevail . . . are critical, balanced, and well-informed positions."

Ricardo Rozzi | BioScience

"Highlighting the profound divergence in the occidental perceptions and use of nature. the book Infinite Nature challenges our perceptions of our place in nature. . . . In addition to a well-written text, readers will find numerous notes and explanations added to the text. This effort of clarity and precision make Infinite Nature accessible to a large public, far beyond the closed circles of scientists and land managers."

Nicolas Lecomte | Ecoscience

"Hull’s work could not be more timely. . . . Other works have tackled philosophical discourse about nature and the environment. . . . What sets Hull’s work apart is that he has pulled these ideas together into a concise and readable book."

Melinda K. Hayes | Quarterly Review of Biology

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Anthropogenic Nature
3. Evolving Nature
4. Ecological Nature
5. (In)finite Nature
6. Economic Nature
7. Healthy Nature
8. Fair Nature
9. Spiritual Nature
10. Human Nature
11. Rightful Nature
12. Aesthetic Nature
13. Moral Nature

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