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Jul 1999
ISBN 026211240X
295 pp.
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The Human Relationship with Nature
Peter H. Kahn, Jr.

Winner of the 2000 Book Award from the Moral Development & Education Group of the American Educational Research Association

"Kahn is a thoughtful and sensitive guide across a far-reaching intellectual landscape, illuminating the relevance of ecological reasoning for many of the key intellectual controversies in developmental psychology."
-- Charles C. Helwig, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto

Urgent environmental problems call for vigorous research and theory on how humans develop a relationship with nature. In a series of original research projects, Peter Kahn answers this call. For the past eight years, Kahn has studied children, young adults, and parents in diverse geographical locations, ranging from an economically impoverished black community in Houston to a remote village in the Brazilian Amazon. In these studies Kahn seeks answers to the following questions: How do people value nature, and how do they reason morally about environmental degradation? Do children have a deep connection to the natural world that gets severed by modern society? Or do such connections emerge, if at all, later in life, with increased cognitive and moral maturity? How does culture affect environmental commitments and sensibilities? Are there universal features in the human relationship with nature? Kahn's empirical and theoretical findings draw on current work in psychology, biology, environmental behavior, education, policy, and moral development.

This scholarly yet accessible book will be of value to practitioners in the social science and environmental fields, as well as to informed generalists interested in environmental issues and children.

Table of Contents
 Acknowledgments
 Preface
 Introduction
1 The Biophilia Hypothesis: Empirical Support and Amplifying Evidence
2 The Biophilia Hypothesis: Conceptual Difficulties and Empirical Limitations
3 The Psychological Framework: Structure and Development
4 Obligatory and Discretionary Morality
5 Structural-Developmental Methods
6 The Houston Child Study
7 The Houston Parent Study
8 The Prince William Sound Study
9 The Brazilian Amazon Study
10 The Portugal Study
11 Epistemology, Culture, and the Universal
12 Environmental Education
 Appendixes
 References
 Index
 
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