Studium Generale: 'Who Do We Think We Are on this Planet?' - Matthijs Schouten

Lecture by Matthijs Schouten

We live in the Anthropocene: the era in which the influence of man has become the dominant factor for the future of life on earth. Our vision on the relationship between man and nature is constantly being revised, but is now gaining momentum. The Anthropocene brings us new questions and dilemmas about the human-nature relationship.

Since his study time Matthijs has been interested in the role that nature plays in human thought. He published the book Spiegel van de Natuur (Nature’s Mirror: the image of nature in a cultural-historical perspective). The perception of nature varies between different cultural contexts. For example Islam speaks of the many signs that Allah incorporated in nature. Buddhism approaches nature from an attitude of respect for all living beings. In the West we have mainly considered nature from a utilitarian perspective. Now, in the Anthropocene, we need to re-assess our attitude to nature and ask ourselves whether we are owners, stewards or partners of nature.


Matthijs Schouten (1952) studied biology, Celtic linguistics and literature, comparative religious studies and Eastern philosophy. After his studies he worked in Ireland for some time; he carried out research on peatbogs and also conducted a campaign to protect these ecosystems. He has been associated with Staatsbosbeheer since 1992. In addition, he is Professor by Special Appointment of Nature and Landscape Protection at the Universities of Cork and Galway (Ireland) and special professor of Ecology and Philosophy of Nature Conservation at Wageningen University.



29 november 2018 16.00 - 17:30


Auditorium KABK

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