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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
News and Notes
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Eugene C. Hargrove Teaching Intrinsic Value to Children
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features
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Aaron Simmons Two Arguments against Biological Interests
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In both environmental ethics and bioethics, one central issue is the range of entities that are morally considerable. According to one view on this issue, we ought to extend consideration to any entity that possesses interests. But what kinds of entities possess interests? Some philosophers have argued that only sentient beings can have interests, while others have held that all living organisms possess interests in the fulfillment of their biological functions. Is it true that all living organisms have biological interests? The standard arguments made against biological interests are unsatisfactory. There are two central reasons why we ought to reject the idea of biological interests: a metaphysical reason and a normative reason. First, the idea of biological interests implies a metaphysically mysterious account of the nature of how things come to have value for an entity. Second, as normative interests, the idea of biological interests implies that what is good for human beings is at least partly determined by things that are external to themselves, completely independent of their capacities for desires, conflicting with the individual ideal of self-direction, according to which it is fundamentally desirable that how we ought to live (or what is good for one) is grounded in one’s own capacities for desires. It is still an open possibility that nonsentient entities may be morally considerable in the sense of having intrinsic value.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Lars Samuelsson On the Demarcation Problem and the Possibility of Environmental Ethics: A Refutation of “A Refutation of Environmental Ethics”
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According to a popular critique of environmental ethics, the view that nature has intrinsic value faces an insurmountable demarcation problem. This critique was delivered in a particularly forceful manner two decades ago by Janna Thompson in her paper “A Refutation of Environmental Ethics.” However, the demarcation problem, albeit a real problem, is not insurmountable. Thompson’s argument draws on the claim that the possibility of environmental ethics depends on the possibility that nature can be demarcated with respect to some allegedly morally significant property or set of properties. Her own view of nature’s moral significance is equally dependent on that possibility. Therefore, if the demarcation problem were insurmountable, that would imply a refutation of her own view on nature’s moral significance as well.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Christopher A. Brown Kantianism and Mere Means
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Few think that Kant’s moral theory can provide a defensible view in the area of environmental ethics because of Kant’s well-known insistence that all nonhumans are mere means. An examination of the relevant arguments, however, shows that they do not entitle Kant to his position. Moreover, Kant’s own Formula of Universal Law generates at least one important and basic duty which is owed both to human beings and to nonhuman animals. The resulting Kantian theory not only is sounder and more intuitive than the original, but also boasts some notable theoretical advantages over some of the most prominent views in environmental ethics.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Paul Ott Value as Practice and the Practice of Value: Dewey’s Value Theory for Environmental Ethics
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John Dewey’s theory of value provides a strong alternative to traditional intrinsic value theory that can better address the need for a wide distribution of environmental values. Grounded in his theories of experience and inquiry, Dewey understands values as concrete practices acquired through the interaction of the human organism with its surroundings. Dividing value into acts of immediate valuation and acts of evaluation, Dewey shows that all values start out as desires and through reflective criticism eventuate in value practices. Value inquiry is the practice of responding to problems in the world for which our established value practices are unable to respond adequately. This model of value is shown to be a much needed improvement over intrinsic value theory insofar as it is inclusive of human desire, limiting the capacity to value to human beings, avoids much of the metaphysical and ethical conflict in the biocentrism/ecocentrism debate, as well as rejects the artificial distinction between instrumental and intrinsic value. The case for Dewey’s theory of value is further strengthened by how closely Aldo Leopold’s experience-based practice of value in A Sand County Almanac parallels Dewey’s theory of value, especially with respect to the importance of desire, science, and education.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Chaone Mallory What is Ecofeminist Political Philosophy? Gender, Nature, and the Political
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Ecofeminist political philosophy is an area of intellectual inquiry that examines the political status of that which we call “nature” using the insights, theoretical tools, and ethical commitments of ecological feminisms and other liberatory theories such as critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial theory, environmental philosophy, and feminism. Ecofeminist political philosophy is concerned with questions regarding the possibilities opened by the recognition of agency and subjectivity for the more-than-human world; and it asks how we can respond politically to the more-than-human world on mutual, dialogical terms. Such philosophy insists that a gendered and liberatory analysis is needed to adequately address the environmental dilemma of how to include nonhuman nature as co-interlocutor in the green public sphere. It also asks critical questions of “traditional” philosophies that exclude the more-than-human world from ethico-political consideration. These themes run throughout the work of three contemporary environmental feminist theorists who compellingly examine the entanglements between concepts and categories of gender, nature, and the political: specifically, the work of ecofeminist philosopher Val Plumwood, radical democratic theorist Catriona Sandilands, and feminist phenomenologist and philosopher of place Bonnie Mann. Karen Warren’s quilt metaphor shows how such ecofeminist political philosophy fits into the larger tapestry of ecofeminism.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Seamus Carey Before the Voice of Reason: Echoes of Responsibility in Merleau-Ponty’s Ecology and Levinas’s Ethics
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Wendy Lynne Lee Environmentalism in Popular Culture
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Joseph Christian Greer Can Life Prevail? A Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 3
Philip Cafaro Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict Between Global Conservation and Native Peoples
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