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141. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Danne W. Polk Gabriel Marcel’s Kinship to Ecophilosophy
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Gabriel Marcel spent most of his life developing a phenomenology of human intersubjectivity. While doing so he discovered the extent to which an authentic human community depends upon the relationship it has to nonhuman nature. By exploring Marcel’s critique of technology, as well as his religious phenomenology, I show the proximity to which Marcel’s philosophy approaches the currentegalitarian response of the radical ecology movement. Even though the bulk of Marcel’s work is concerned with human intersubjectivity, his writings advocate a transcendence of anthropocentricism to what Marcel calls “cosmocentricism,” an existential attitude toward the world which submits to the sacredness of all beings, as well as to the bioregions within which all earthly creatures share the sacraments of life.
142. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Robert Elliot Extinction, Restoration, Naturalness
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Alastair S. Gunn has argued that it is in principle possible to restore degraded natural environments and to restore their full value, provided that species distinctive to them are extant. I argue, first, that the proviso is unnecessary. More importantly, I claim that full value cannot be restored because restored environments lack the relational property of being naturally evolved. I delineate and explain the structure and detail of the theoretical bases for this claim and show that Gunn’s reflections do not rule out the view that full value cannot be restored.
143. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Arthur J. Fabel Environmental Ethics and the Question of Cosmic Purpose
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In the context of the earlier views of John Haught, I discuss the paradox that while environmental philosophers seek a viable ethics, advocates of the majority view, scientific materialism, deny an intrinsic value to nature. I argue that a new science, just now arising, may set aside this pessimistic view, replacing it with a conception of the cosmos as a self-organizing genesis. Its method is holistic and integrative rather than analytical and divisive. After a survey of its overall outlines, I introduce some salient features of the central trend, a key property, and a universal complementarity and explore their relevance for a scientifically based natural ethics that takes into account an ecological self, animal awareness, and cooperative communities.
144. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
William O. Stephens Stoic Naturalism, Rationalism, and Ecology
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Cheney’s claim that there is a subtextual affinity between ancient Stoicism and deep ecology is historically unfounded, conceptually unsupported, and misguided from a scholarly viewpoint. His criticisms of Stoic thought are thus merely ad hominem diatribe. A proper examination of the central ideas of Stoic ethics reveals the coherence and insightfulness of Stoic naturalism and rationalism. While not providing the basis for a contemporary environmental ethic, Stoicism, nonetheless, contains some very fruitful ethical concepts.
145. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Frederik Kaufman Warren on the Logic of Domination
146. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Robert R. Higgins Race, Pollution, and the Mastery of Nature
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Racial environmental inequities, documented in research over the past ten years, have deep cultural sources in the connections between the concept of social pollution as it has operated in U.S. race relations and the pollution of minority communities, both of which are, in part, the expression of our dominant cultural ethic and project of mastering nature. The project of mastering nature requires thedisciplining of “human nature” in a context of social power in order to dominate “outward” or “external” nature for the purposes of production and consumption. In disciplining human nature, our ethics and practices of work and gender have fostered the repression and projection of sensuality, widely construed, onto African-Americans in particular. This racial “other” has been historically segregated in our society through social pollution taboos. Social pollution practices, in turn, facilitate the disproportionate environmental pollution of minority communities by rendering such pollution, like the communities themselves, less visible and therefore less of a threat to white centers of power. This fit between social and environmental pollution is expressed in the notion of “appropriately polluted space.” Attempts to understand and correct racial environmental inequities will founder unless these deeper cultural connections are recognized and challenged. Moreover, attempts to redefine an environmentally benign “self” in the Americancontext require that the historical “other” of race be confronted and transcended.
147. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Ron Erickson On Environmental Virtue Ethics
148. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
R. Edward Grumbine Wildness, Wise Use, and Sustainable Development
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Ideas of wilderness in North America are evolving toward some new configuration. Current wilderness ideology, among other weaknesses, has been charged with encouraging a radical separation between people and nature and with being inadequate to serve the protection of biodiversity. Sustainable development and “wise use” privatization of wildlands have been offered as alternatives to the Western wilderness concept. I review this wilderness debate and argue that critical distinctions between wildness and wilderness and self and other must be settled before alternatives can be considered. I look closely at arguments for sustainable development and argue that the limits on the human use of nature are discounted and technological management of wildlands is emphasized. I also argue that the “wise use” response to wilderness is a radically utilitarian option that does not contribute to evolving ideas of wilderness or sustainability and that replacing the sustainable development idea with sustainable landscape protection might better serve both wildness and human projects. Finally, I offer the ways of life of post-migratory ecosystem-based cultures as models of appropriate human behavior within a management framework of habitat protection for viable populations of all native species and conclude that our purpose in protecting wildness is not to preserve nature or to improve it, but rather to learn a sense of limits from it and to model culture after it.
149. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Knut A. Jacobsen The Institutionalization of the Ethics of “Non-Injury” toward All “Beings” in Ancient India
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The principle of non-injury toward all living beings (ahimsā) in India was originally a rule restraining human interaction with the natural environment. I compare two discourses on the relationship between humans and the natural environment in ancient India: the discourse of the priestly sacrificial cult and the discourse of the renunciants. In the sacrificial cult, all living beings were conceptualized as food. The renunciants opposed this conception and favored the ethics of non-injury toward all beings (plants, animals, etc.), which meant that no living being should be food for another. The first represented an ethics modeled on the power that the eater has over the eaten while the second attempted to overturn this food chain ethics. The ethics of non-injury ascribed ultimate value to every individual living being. As a critique of the individualistic ethics of noninjury, a holistic ethics was developed that prescribed the unselfish performance of one’s duties for the sake of the functioning of the natural system. Vegetarianismbecame a popular adaptation of the ethics of non-injury. These dramatic changes in ethics in ancient India are suggestive for the possibility of dramatic changes in environmental ethics today.
150. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
James W. Nickel, Eduardo Viola Integrating Environmentalism and Human Rights
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The environmental and human rights movements have valuable contributions to make to each other. Environmentalists can contribute to the greening of human rights by getting the human rights movement to recognize a right to a safe environment, to see humans as part of nature, and to begin considering the idea that nature may have claims of its own. The human rights movement can contribute to environmentalism by getting environmentalists to recognize that they have strong reasons to support rights to political participation, freedom from violence, due process of law, education, and adequate nutrition.
151. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Kerry H. Whiteside Hannah Arendt and Ecological Politics
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I argue that Arendt’s understanding of “society” deepens Green critiques of productivism. By avoiding subjectivist or objectivist modes of thought, Arendt uncovers hidden links between life-sustaining labor and a world-destroying drive to consume. Checking environmentally destructive desires to produce and consume requires structuring communities around an optimal configuration of public deliberation, work and labor. I conclude that an Arendt-inspired ecological politics stresses the interdependence of human values and an all-encompassing natural order.
152. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Glenn McGee The Relevance of Foucault to Whiteheadian Environmental Ethics
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Although he devotes little explicit analysis to ethics, Whitehead’s understanding of the human moral life immerses both human moral agency and environmental ethics in the natural world, judging good actions in the context of complex and interdependent histories of value present in societies of what he calls actual occasions. In this sense, Whiteheadian environmental ethics draws on the most interesting features of Michel Foucault’s genealogies of values that suffuse institutions. Nevertheless, a Whiteheadian notion of environmental ethics exceeds Foucault’s work in that Whitehead acknowledges the possibility of responsible human values and actions with regard to the environment.
153. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
John Patterson Maori Environmental Virtues
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The standard sources for Maori ethics are the traditional narratives. These depict all things in the environment as sharing a common ancestry, and as thereby required, ideally, to exhibit certain virtues of respect and responsibility for each other. These environmental virtues are expressed in terms of distinctively Maori concepts: respect for mauri and tapu, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, and environmental balance. I briefly explore these Maori environmental virtues, and draw from them some messages for the world at large.
154. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
David W. Kidner Why Psychology Is Mute about the Environmental Crisis
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Psychology, often defined as the science of human behavior, has so far had little to say about the environmental destruction which is currently occurring as the result of human behavior. I consider the reasons why it has not and suggest that the ideological preconceptions that underpin the discipline are similar to those of the technological-economic system that is largely responsible for degradation ofthe environment. Psychology, by normalizing the behavioral, life-style, and personality configurations associated with environmental destruction, and lacking a historical perspective on changes in consciousness and technology, is unable to contribute effectively to the ecological debate. I conclude that the discipline needs to locate itself historically and ideologically before it can offer an adequate analysis of environmental destruction.
155. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Michael V. McGinnis Myth, Nature, and the Bureaucratic Experience
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From the “deep” ecological perspective, there is a dualism between an ecocentric and an anthropocentric perspective, and this dualism is reflected in the ideal of the bureaucratic experience. The bureaucrat lives by the myth of the human ability to control nature. An eco-myth is evolving that can offer one means of transcending the dominant bureaucratic mythic experience. This eco-myth movestoward a positive and sensitive human relationship with nature—a collective experience that values nature on its own terms and not as standing reserve. This position is no less mythic than the one it is replacing, but it is a better myth, because, being non-dualist, it offers the prospect of a political society in harmony with nature.
156. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Michael Bruner, Max Oelschlaeger Rhetoric, Environmentalism, and Environmental Ethics
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The growth of environmental ethics as an academic discipline has not been accompanied by any cultural movement toward sustainability. Indices of ecological degradation steadily increase, and many of the legislative gains made during the 1970s have been lost during the Reagan-Bush anti-environmental revolution. This situation gives rise to questions about the efficacy of ecophilosophical discourse. We argue (1) that these setbacks reflect, on the one hand, the skillful use of rhetorical tools by anti-environmental factions and, on the other, the indifference (even hostility) of the ecophilosophical communitytoward rhetoric, (2) that since the linguistic turn in philosophy, no rigid line of demarcation can be maintained between rhetoric and philosophy, and (3) that rhetoric offers resources to the ecophilosophical community that increase its potential to effect change in society.
157. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Deane Curtin Making Peace with the Earth: Indigenous Agriculture and the Green Revolution
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Since its inception in the years following World War II, the green revolution has been defended, not just as a technical program designed to alleviate world hunger, but on moral grounds as a program to achieve world peace. In this paper, I dispute the moral claim to a politics of peace, arguing instead that the green revolution is warist in its treatment of the environment and indigenous communities, and that the agricultural practices that the green revolution was designed to supplant—principally indigenous women’s agriculture—are forms of ecological peacemaking, akin to pacifism. I argue, as well, that the warist intentions of the green revolution are characteristic of a form of domination called developmentalism. A complete understanding of domination necessitates linking developmentalism with other forms of domination such as racism, sexism, and naturism.
158. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Gus Di Zerega Individuality, Human and Natural Communities, and the Foundations of Environmental Ethics
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An ecologically informed view of ethics focuses upon individuals considered in relation to the communities within which they live. Such a view holds that ethics is rooted in the fundamental relationships characterizing particular types of communities. From this perspective, the different communities of the polity, family, and ecosystem superficially appear to have very different ethical systems. In fact, however, all are characterized by respect for community members. Respect is the fundamental ethical insight. This view suggests a way of harmonizing modern society’s relationship with the natural world and of bringing ethical theory into closer harmony with humankind’s most timeless insights.
159. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
William C. French Against Biospherical Egalitarianism
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Arne Naess and Paul Taylor are two of the most forceful proponents of the principle of species equality. Problematically, both, when adjudicating conflict of interest cases, resort to employing explicit or implicit species-ranking arguments. I examine how Lawrence Johnson’s critical, species-ranking approach helpfully avoids the normative inconsistencies of “biospherical egalitarianism.” Many assume species-ranking schemes are rooted in arrogant, ontological claims about human, primate, or mammalian superiority. Species-ranking, I believe, is best viewed as a justified articulation of moral priorities in response to individuals’ or entities’ relative ranges of vulnerability and need, rooted in their relative ranges of capacities and interests.
160. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Catriona Sandilands From Natural Identity to Radical Democracy
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Environmentalism is traversed by a dilemma between a movement toward identity politics and the impossibility of a speaking natural subject; this dilemma calls into question both the relevance of identity politics for ecological struggle and dominant classical constructions of the subject itself. Using Lacanianinspired insights on subjectivity, and the works of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe on radical democracy, I investigate the alternative versions of the subject implicit in ecological discourses and suggest that it is through these alternatives that environmentalism can forge necessary alliances with other movements oriented toward human liberation. In particular, the very impossibility of a natural speaking subject suggests that the ecological project of redefining humanity’s relationships to nonhuman nature(s) is always contingent on reorienting human subjectivity itself; this fact highlights the centrality of political coalition between ecological and other social movements.