Date of Award

Spring 2011

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Hoyt L. Edge


Since the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth-century, humanity has appropriated the natural world for its uses, and only recently have we begun to understand the consequences of our actions. This misuse of the natural world has manifested itself thoroughly in all industries, including the woodworking field. To counteract this problem, I investigate its Cartesian philosophical underpinnings and propose a solution based upon the interconnected philosophy of the German Existentialist Martin Heidegger. Equipped with both the philosophy of Heidegger and concepts from the Deep Ecology movement (which insists upon the intrinsic value of all life on earth), I work to reformulate how woodworkers and tradesmen approach their craft. Before attempting this, however, I delve into a parallel field – that of organic agriculture – to investigate similarities in practical development. After a review of past woodworking philosophies, I develop six key concepts as well as a practical way forward for the woodworking community (based upon successes already witnessed in the organic movement). To conclude, I provide examples of how some aspects of this philosophy are already taking hold: most notably in vocational programs and small woodworking communities throughout our nation and the world.