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Leopold's Shack and Ricketts's LabThe Emergence of Environmentalism$
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Michael Lannoo

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520264786

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520264786.001.0001

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Ricketts's Approach

Ricketts's Approach

(p.125) Chapter Thirteen Ricketts's Approach
Leopold's Shack and Ricketts's Lab

Michael J Lannoo

University of California Press

While Aldo Leopold's worldview was ecological and utilitarian (what J. B. Callicott has called a transformative vision), Edward F. Ricketts's worldview was ecological and holistic (what Callicott calls a transcendent vision). According to Richard Astro, Ricketts used the principles of ecology to grasp and understand the totality of things. Ultimately, Ricketts settled on a philosophy that he called “breaking through.” Astro notes that Ricketts tried long and hard to find a means by which he could communicate “the deep thing.” The method Ricketts chose he inappropriately called non-teleological thinking. It is interesting that many things Ricketts termed spiritual or mystical have explanations centered in science. While Ricketts's approach to science (and his adoption of the new science of ecology) is best exemplified by Between Pacific Tides, and his overarching philosophy by Sea of Cortez, his mature, holistic, ecological viewpoint is most visible in his attempts to understand the collapse of the West Coast sardine fishery (which took with it the economy of Cannery Row).

Keywords:   Aldo Leopold, Edward F. Ricketts, ecology, transformative vision, transcendent vision, philosophy, breaking through, science, sardine fishery, non-teleological thinking

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