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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
News and Notes
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Christian Diehm Should Extinction be Forever? Restitution, Restoration, and Reviving Extinct Species
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“De-extinction” projects propose to re-create or “resurrect” extinct species. Perhaps the most common justification offered for these projects is that humans have an obligation to make restitution to species we have eradicated. There are three versions of this argument for de-extinction—one individualistic, one concerned with species, and one that emphasizes ecological restoration—and all three fail to provide a compelling case for species revival. A general critique of de-extinction can be sketched that highlights how it can both facilitate inattentiveness to biological and ecological boundaries and foster a managerial mentality toward the natural world.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Benjamin R. Jones, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Roman V. Sidortsov Making the Ethical and Philosophical Case for “Energy Justice”
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A new conceptual framework, “energy justice,” provides a more comprehensive and, po­tentially, better way to assess and resolve energy-related dilemmas. This new framework of energy justice builds on four fundamental assumptions and consists of two key principles: a prohibitive principle which states that “energy systems must be designed and constructed in such a way that they do not unduly interfere with the ability of people to acquire those basic goods to which they are justly entitled,” and an affirmative principle which states that “if any of the basic goods to which people are justly entitled can only be secured by means of energy services, then in that case there is also a derivative entitlement to the energy services.” These two principles are premised on the notion that energy serves as a material prerequisite for many of the basic goods to which people are entitled. They also recognize that the externalities associated with energy systems often interfere with the enjoyment of such fundamental goods as security and welfare. They acknowledge that the structuring of energy systems has profound ramifications for human societies, providing historically unprecedented benefits for some, and taking from others the possibility of living a life of basic human dignity.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Russell Butkus Solidarity: Does the Modern Catholic Rights Tradition have Anything to Offer Environmental Virtue Ethics?
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Within the last decade those familiar with environmental ethics have witnessed a resurgence of environmental virtue ethics. According to Louke van Wensveen, ecological virtue language is “rapidly growing” and “represents a distinct moral discourse with an internal unity and logic”—what she calls “an integral discourse.” Does the modern Catholic rights tradition (aka Catholic social teaching) have anything to contribute to this ethical discourse? Grounded historically in neo-Thomistic natural law and virtue ethics, Catholic social teaching originated as a response to late ninteenth- and early twentieth-century social and economic crises (e.g., the Great Depression). Out of this application emerged the virtue of solidarity. However, an analysis of recent discourse in environmental virtue ethics shows that the treatment of solidarity as an environmental virtue is rather thin in the literature. Nevertheless, with the development of solidarity and the expanding notion of the common good, inclusive of the planetary commons, in recent Catholic documents, solidarity is “translatable” into the realm of ecological virtue ethics. As an environmental virtue, solidarity should be interpreted as “biophilic solidarity” grounded in the genetic homology of evolutionary speciation, and defined as the consistent habit of character expressed in the recognition of our fundamental interrelatedness with the human and nonhuman. As a virtue biophilic solidarity takes explicit shape in determined active engagement (praxis) to create, promote, and restore the universal common good of creation. In relation to the human-centered Catholic rights tradition, the status of nature is examined drawing on an axiological analysis of nature indicating that the natural world holds a spectrum of values including utilitarian and intrinsic value. The concluding reflection points to the shortfall of environmental virtue ethics without an accompanying social ethic in the interest of an ecological vision for a sustainable society.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Emma Rush A Gaitan Account of Environmental Ethics
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An environmental ethics mirroring the distinctive account given by Raimond Gaita of human ethics offers a number of advantages. By understanding the moral significance of individuals to be related primarily to whether they are intelligible objects of love, a Gaitan environmental ethics clarifies the conceptual connections between experiences familiar to those who affirm environmental value: perception of intrinsic value in nature, love of particular natural things or places, an expanded sense of depth of meaning in life, and the sense that environmental commitment is partially constitutive of identity. It highlights the importance of an attitudinal shift in promoting broader acceptance of environmental ethics, and the need for nature preservation, environmental culture, and environmentally committed people who live with integrity to facilitate such an attitudinal shift. Finally, by explaining (via the critical concept of anthropocentrism) the depth of meaning in life that affirmation of environmental value makes possible, it might play a small role in reducing barriers to such affirmation. A Gaitan approach clarifies the conceptual connections between experiences familiar to many who affirm environmental value, highlights the importance of nature preservation, of environmental culture, and of environmentally committed people, and can provide the advantage of a deeper meaning in life over the current norm of seeing nature instrumentally.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Toby Svoboda Geoengineering, Agent-Regret, and the Lesser of Two Evils Argument
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According to the “Lesser of Two Evils Argument,” deployment of solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering in a climate emergency would be morally justified because it likely would be the best option available. A prominent objection to this argument is that a climate emergency might constitute a genuine moral dilemma in which SRM would be impermissible even if it was the best option. However, while conceiving of a climate emergency as a moral dilemma accounts for some ethical concerns about SRM, it requires the controversial claim that there are genuine moral dilemmas, and it potentially undermines moral action guidance in emergency scenarios. Instead, it is better to conceive of climate emergencies as situations calling for agent-regret. This alternative allows us coherently to hold that SRM may be morally problematic even if it ought to be deployed in some scenario.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
T. J. Kasperbauer Naturalizing Sentimentalism for Environmental Ethics
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Jesse Prinz and Shaun Nichols have argued that within metaethics, sentimentalism is the theory that best accords with empirical facts about human moral psychology. Recent findings in experimental moral psychology, they argue, indicate that emotions are psychologically central to our moral concepts. One way of testing the empirical adequacy of sentimentalism is by looking at research on environmental values. A classic problem in environmental ethics is providing an account of the intrinsic value of nonhuman entities, which is often thought to be inconsistent with sentimentalism. However, no supporters of sentimentalist accounts of environmental values have evaluated the empirical adequacy of their claims. The relevant evidence falls under two broad categories: (1) responses to nature itself and (2) moral evaluations of environmental behaviors. The evidence indicates that both valuing and disvaluing nature are ultimately grounded in emotions.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Philip Cafaro Daniel Botkin: The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Thomas Cheney Ronald L. Sandler: Food Ethics: The Basics
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Frank W. Derringh Eric Roark: Removing the Commons: A Lockean Left-Libertarian Approach to the Just Use and Appropriation of Natural Resourses
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Christopher Groves Elizabeth Cripps: Climate Change and the Moral Agent: Individual Duties in an Interdependent World
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12. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Tony Milligan Robert Garner: A Theory of Justice for Animals: Rights in a Nonideal World
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13. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Andrew J. Spencer Whitney A Bauman: Religion and Ecology: Developing a Planetary Ethic
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14. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Eric Katz Dale Jamieson: Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle against Climate Change Failed—And What It Means for Our Future
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