The central thought of K. M. Meyer-Abich is his conception of nature as a community not only of all living beings, but also of the “elements” constituting nature, and of “artefacts”. Instead of the environment (“Umwelt”) the author thus speaks of “the world as a community (“Mitwelt”)”. Meyer-Abich characterises his conception not as (merely) biocentric but rather as “physiocentric”. He uses the title of one of the key approaches in moral and political philosophy: communitarianism. He therefore talks of a “widened communitarianism” – that is of a communitarianism broadened to include nature and everything which is involved in it. This conception has consequences for Meyer-Abich‘s understanding of the relation between nature and culture: nature is in some way “extended” in culture and there is no clear dividing-line between the two. The author of the article takes a critical view, above all, to Meyer-Abich’s underestimation of the qualitative difference of the way of being of man and other forms of life (especially animals), which leads to the neglect of the essentially human standing in nature (which H. Plessner, for example, has described as “excentric positionality”). This is not only the condition for the possibility of the creation of a culture as a specifically human phenomenon, but also, above all, the condition for the treatment of nature itself as a whole. Meyer-Abich’s ideal of transforming man from an interplanetary conqueror into a being grounded on the Earth (“Sesshaftigkeit”), is something that the author takes to be thoroughly noble, but nevertheless illusory.
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