Arne Dekke Eide Næss (Urban East Norwegian: [ˈɑ̂ːɳə ˈdɛ̂kːə ˈæ̂ɪdə ˈnɛsː]; 27 January 1912 – 12 January 2009) was a Norwegian philosopher who coined the term "deep ecology", an important intellectual and inspirational figure within the environmental movement of the late twentieth century, and a prolific writer on many other philosophical issues. Næss cited Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring as being a key influence in his vision of deep ecology. Næss combined his ecological vision with Gandhian nonviolence and on several occasions participated in direct action.
Næss averred that while western environmental groups of the early post–World War II period had raised public awareness of the environmental issues of the time, they had largely failed to have insight into and address what he argued were the underlying cultural and philosophical background to these problems. Næss believed that the environmental crisis of the twentieth century had arisen due to certain unspoken philosophical presuppositions and attitudes within modern western developed societies which remained unacknowledged.He thereby distinguished between what he called deep and shallow ecological thinking. In contrast to the prevailing utilitarian pragmatism of western businesses and governments, he advocated that a true understanding of nature would give rise to a point of view that appreciates the value of biological diversity, understanding that each living thing is dependent on the existence of other creatures in the complex web of interrelationships that is the natural world.
Birth nameArne Dekke Eide Næss
Place of birthSlemdal, Norway
SiblingsErling Dekke Næss
AwardsFridtjof Nansen Award for outstanding research, historical-philosophical class, Knight Grand Officer of the Order of Saint Olav, Prices of the Norwegian Association of Sociology, Peer Gynt Literary Award, Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, Mountain Goat of the Year
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