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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
News and Notes
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Juan Pablo Hernández Betancur Is There Common Ground between Anthropocentrists and Nonanthropocentrists?
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Despite the fact that their disagreement concerns the most basic metaethical and metaphysical questions regarding our relation to nature, it has become apparent that many anthropocentrists share with nonanthropocentrists a concern for the environment for its own sake, that is to say, a noninstrumental concern for nature. This concern is also present in practical spheres of environmental engagement. With regard to the philosophical task of justifying the claim that we ought to protect nature, this concern imposes on those that share it at least three conditions: priority, independence of future interaction, and universality. Reasonably specified, these conditions are neutral between anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism and should be attractive to both camps. Although there are reasons to think it would be difficult to meet all three conditions at the same time, with some modification a promising way to do it becomes apparent.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Simon P. James Nature’s Indifference
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Contrary to what writers such as Hans Jonas and Val Plumwood suggest, much of nature is indifferent to human interests. Mountains, glaciers, sun-baked salt pans—such entities care neither about what interests us humans nor about what is objectively in our interests. It might be hard to see how the property of being indifferent, in this sense, could add value. But it can. For those of us who inhabit highly technological, user-friendly environments, entities such as mountains can have therapeutic value precisely because they so obviously do not care about what matters to us.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Anna Peterson Problem Animals
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Nonhuman animals play various roles in environmental ethics, often as charismatic symbols of wilderness or active participants in the natural dramas we seek to preserve. Sometimes, however, nonhuman animals do not fit into—and may even threaten—the “nature” that we value. There are two especially problematic animals: white-tailed deer and feral cats. Together, these creatures shine light on a number of important issues in environmental ethics, including the tensions between animal welfare and environmentalism, the ways human interests and categories pervade even ecocentric perspectives, and the complex place of science in environmental ethics and advocacy. Thinking through the issues raised by debates about deer and cats can contribute to a more adequate treatment of nonhuman animals in environmental thought and advocacy.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Christopher Cohoon Human Edibility, Ecological Embodiment: Plumwood and Levinas
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In her analyses of human ecological alienation, Val Plumwood implies that the recalcitrant problem of human exceptionalism is sustained in part by a kind of imaginative failure, by a certain blind spot to the ecological edibility of the human body. Among the many assumptions responsible for the blind spot, Plumwood suggests, is the liberal conception of the body as something proprietary, as something one owns. Plumwood’s work therefore establishes a new, if counterintuitive, task for environmental philosophy: to find or create models of human embodiment that do not preempt but rather enable access to edibility. One such model can be found in Emmanuel Levinas’s late concept of the pre-egoic ethical body (“recurrence”). This otherwise elusive and frequently neglected concept ought to be understood as a boldly materialist appropriation of Plotinian emanationism. So understood, it provides a path beyond the blind spot that Plumwood identifies. Taking up Levinas in this way opens a new path for environmental philosophy into his idiosyncratic thought—a path distinct, that is, from the standard extensionist maneuver of seeking nonhuman applications for his ultra-humanist notion of the face.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Espen Dyrnes Stabell Existence Value, Preference Satisfaction, and the Ethics of Species Extinction
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Existence value refers to the value humans ascribe to the existence of something, regard­less of whether it is or will be of any particular use to them. This existence value based on preference satisfaction should be taken into account in evaluating activities that come with a risk of species extinction. There are two main objections. The first is that on the preference satisfaction interpretation, the concept lacks moral importance because satisfying people’s preferences may involve no good or well-being for them. However, existence value can be based on a restricted version of the preference satisfaction theory, which is not vulnerable to the skeptical arguments about the link between preference satisfaction and well-being. The second objection is that even if preference satisfaction can be linked to well-being, understanding existence value in terms of individual preference satisfaction is incoherent, because existence value reflects disinterested preferences that involve no benefits to the individual. However, the fact that existence value may involve disinterested preferences does not threaten the coherence of the concept, but suggests that it does not fit smoothly into the “utilitarian” or “welfarist” framework it is commonly considered within. A pluralistic normative approach based on prima facie duties can be an alternative to standard utilitarian-style approaches for considering existence value in concrete cases involving a risk of species extinction, such as through deep sea mining.
book reviews
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Erik Persson James S. J. Schwartz and Tony Milligan, eds.: The Ethics of Space Exploration
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
Konrad Ott Donna Haraway: Staying with the Trouble: Makng Kin in the Chthulucene
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 2
J. Spencer Atkins Eileen Crist: Abundant Earth: Toward an Ecological Civilization
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