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181. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Ernest Partridge Ecological Morality and Nonmoral Sentiments
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A complete environmental ethic must include a theory of motivation to assure that the demands of that ethic are within the capacity of human beings. J. Baird Callicott has argued that these requisite sentiments may be found in the moral psychology of David Hume, enriched by the insights of Charles Darwin. I reply that, on the contrary, Humean moral sentiments are more likely to incline one toanthropocentrism than to Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, which is defended by Callicott. This mismatch becomes more evident as Callicott attempts to enlist Humean moral sentiments in support of the Leopoldian “land community.” The disanalogies between human and natural communities, I argue, are too great to permit this application. The motivation we need to meet our duties as “citizens of the land community” must be of a nonmoral kind. I suggest that the necessary sentiments may be found in a genetically based “affirmation of nature” that has evolved out of our natural history as a species, shaped by the very forces and contexts that are now put in peril by our technology.
182. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
J. Angelo Corlett Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Damage
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I set forth and defend an analysis of corporate moral responsibility (retrospective moral liability), which, I argue, ought to serve as the foundation for corporate legal responsibility, punishment, and compensation for environmental damage caused by corporations
183. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
J. Baird Callicott On Norton and the Failure of Monistic Inherentism
184. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Leonard J. Waks Environmental Claims and Citizen Rights
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I propose a model for the development of citizen rights based on the advance of political and social rights and apply it to contemporary claims regarding environmental rights. In terms of this “claims and attenuations” model, I sketch the roles of environmental philosophers and activists, the media and public opinion, and political insiders in the development of positive rights. I then predict a weakeningof environmental claims and a marginalization of environmental philosophies as environmental claims are secured as positive rights.
185. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Mark A. Michael To Swat or Not to Swat: Pesky Flies, Environmental Ethics, and the Supererogatory
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A central thesis of biocentrism is that all living things have intrinsic value. But when conflicts arise between the interests of humans and other organisms, this claim often has counterintuitive consequences. It would be wrong, for example, to swat pesky flies. Some biocentrists have responded by positing a taxonomy of interests in which human interests justifiably supersede those of other living things. I express doubts about whether this maneuver can succeed, and suggest that even if it does, it then commits biocentrists to the claim that it is wrong not to harm living things, when doing so is necessary to advance nonbasic human interests, a position which runs counter to the biocentric attitude of respect for nature. As a result, biocentrists must adopt either a highly counterintuitive position or one that is contrary to their general outlook. I show that the introduction of the supererogatory may resolve not only this biocentric dilemma but other quandaries in environmental ethics.
186. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Anthony Weston Self-Validating Reduction: Toward a Theory of Environmental Devaluation
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Disvaluing nature—a cognitive act—usually leads quickly to devaluing it too: to real-world exploitation and destruction. Worse, in fact, nature in its devalued state can then be held up as an excuse and justification for the initial disvaluation. In this way, dismissal and destruction perpetuate themselves. I call this process “self-validating reduction.” It is crucial to recognize the cycle of self-validating reduction, both in general and specifically as it applies to nature, if we are to have any chance of reversing it.
187. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Beth A. Dixon The Feminist Connection between Women and Animals
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Comparison of similarities between women and animals does not necessarily show that animals are oppressed, much less that they are oppressed by patriarchy. Moreover, by seeking to establish symbolic connections, ecofeminists run the risk of essentializing women as emotional and bodily and closer to nature than men. Feminists have little to gain by concentrating exclusively on how the concepts of woman and animal overlap. Likewise, there is little to be gained for animal liberation by comparing women and animals in theory and practice. Feminists have obligations to liberate animals to the degree that they have obligations to liberate any oppressed population, but not because there are either theoretical, practical, or symbolic connections between women and animals.
188. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Eric Katz The Problem of Ecological Restoration
189. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Carmen Velayos Castelo Reflections on Stoic Logocentrism
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William O. Stephens is to be applauded for the way in which he presents and analyzes some paradigmatic Stoic arguments, and thus defends Stoicism from the misplaced charges of Jim Cheney. Nonetheless, Stephens’ individualist interpretation of what he calls Stoic “logocentrism” obscures key features of the Stoics’ theory of value and their related ethic and metaphysic. Once the Stoics are allowedto speak for themselves, it emerges that they adhered to a holistic axiology, that for them virtue lay in conformity with cosmic nature, and that the standard charges of anthropocentrism and blindness to natural beauty, often wielded by environmental philosophers against them, are misguided.
190. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Keekok Lee The Source and Locus of Intrinsic Value: A Reexamination
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In the literature of environmental philosophy, the single most potent argument that has been made against the claim that nature may possess intrinsic value in any objective sense is the Humean thesis of projectivism and its associated view that human consciousness is the source of all values. Theorists, in one way or another, have to face up to this challenge. For instance, J. Baird Callicott upholds this Humean foundation to modern Western philosophy. However, by distinguishing between the source and locus of value, he makes it possible to argue that nature is the locus of intrinsic value without at the same time compromising the thesis that human consciousness is the source of all values. On the other hand, Holmses Rolston, III, another eminent environmental philosopher, criticizes the distinction as well as challenges the Humean foundation itself. In this article, I attempt to resolve the disagreement between Callicott and Rolston over this particular distinction, thereby doing justice to the insights which each theorist, undoubtedly, has brought to bear on the issue of intrinsic value, at least as far as individual organisms is concerned. However, I am also critical of both for having failed to draw out the full implications behind certain crucial distinctions that should be made about the notion of intrinsic value itself.
191. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
J. Mark Morgan Resources, Recreationists, and Revenues: A Policy Dilemma for Today’s State Park Systems
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Many state park systems across the U.S. are facing a controversial policy issue over the three R’s: resources, recreationists, and revenues. It is becoming increasingly difficult for state parks to protect the resources and allow for public enjoyment, mainly because of political demands for increased revenue. As a result, many state park systems have built elaborate facilities for visitors. Are these park improvement projects motivated by a sincere desire to satisfy diverse user groups or simply another way of generating revenue for state governments? What are the “hidden” costs of park development? I discuss the policy implications for state park management, along with some philosophical issues concerning the utilization of publicly owned natural resources.
192. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
J. Donald Hughes Francis of Assisi and the Diversity of Creation
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Francis’ view of nature has been seen as positive in an ecological sense even by those who are for the most part critical of Christianity’s attitude to nature, such as Lynn White, Jr. I argue that one element of Francis’ uniqueness was that he saw the diversity of life as an expression of God’s creativity and benevolence and attempted to carry out that vision in ethical behavior. Much of what has been written about him has precedents in traditional hagiography, but there remains an unmistakable impression of originality. It has been noted that Francis insisted on the goodness of creation, used terms of family relationship to refer to creatures other than human, and preached to them. However, another element has escaped notice: his emphasis on the presence of God in the diversity of created entities and his desire that humans should rejoice in this diversity and glorify God for it and with it. His devotion did not immediately dissolve multiplicity into oneness, but glorified God in each created being and delighted in their individuality. He advocated that praise be expressed by acting in ways consistent with respect for created diversity, not only by observing a strict rule of abstaining from harm to living beings, but also in positive treatment of all creatures. Nature took its meaning not from its serviceability to mankind, but from its expression of the multiple forms of God’s benevolent presence.
193. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Angus Taylor Animal Rights and Human Needs
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The idea that animal rights can be married to environmental ethics is still a minority opinion. The land ethic of Aldo Leopold, as interpreted by J. Baird Callicott, remains fundamentally at odds with the ascription of substantial rights to (nonhuman) animals. Similarly, Laura Westra’s notion of “respectful hostility,” which attempts to reconcile a holistic environmental ethic with “respect” for animals, has no place for animal rights.In this paper, I argue that only by ascribing rights to sentient animals can an environmental ethic avoid an unacceptable degree of anthropocentrism because only a rights-based environmental ethic can prohibit humans from significantly interfering with sentient animals when human vital needs are not at stake. A rights view that permits significant interference when it is required for the satisfaction of human vital needs avoids problems that otherwise plague a rights view. The “vital-needs rights view” reconciles the rights of animals with the satisfaction of human vital needs—including the vital need to have a flourishing natural environment—suggesting a possible alliance between animal rights and deep ecology and revealing the connections among vital needs, capitalism, and environmental degradation.
194. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Michael Lockwood End Value, Evaluation, and Natural Systems
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I develop a general framework for natural and human values based on the position that end value is constructed by persons, but not wholly referent to them, identify and analyze three hierarchically related levels of end value in relation to the functional values which support them and the held and ascribed values generated by entities possessing teleological value, use this framework to indicate the context in which economic values should be located, and assess the implications of the framework for environmental policy and future valuation work.
195. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Andrew Light, Eric S. Higgs The Politics of Ecological Restoration
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Discussion of ecological restoration in environmental ethics has tended to center on issues about the nature and character of the values that may or may not be produced by restored landscapes. In this paper we shift the philosophical discussion to another set of issues: the social and political context in which restorations are performed. We offer first an evaluation of the political issues in the practice of restoration in general and second an assessment of the political context into which restoration is moving. The former focuses on the inherent participatory capacity at the heart of restoration; the latter is concerned with the commodified (primarily in the United States) and nationalized (primarily in Canada) uses to which restoration is being put. By comparing these two areas of inquiry we provide a foundation for a critical assessment of the politics of restoration based on the politics in restoration.
196. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 18 > Issue: 3
Janis Birkland Beyond Economic Man: A Commentary
197. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
John R. E. Bliese Traditionalist Conservatism and Environmental Ethics
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Environmentalism is usually thought to be a liberal political position, but the two primary schools of thought within the conservative intellectual movement support environmentalism as well. The free market perspective has received considerable attention for its potential contributions to environmental protection, but the traditionalist perspective has not. In this essay, I consider several important principles of traditionalist conservatism. The traditionalists are not materialists and are highly critical of our consumer culture. They reject ideology and stress piety toward nature, the intergenerational character of society, and prudence in political and social action. These basic principles are a solid foundation for environmentalism.
198. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Peter Wenz Philosophy Class as Commercial
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Because commercialism tends toward environmental degradation, selection and treatment of the philosophical canon are environmental matters. Environmentalists and others who teach early modern and modern philosophy should, I argue, alter typical pedogogical approaches that (usually unwittingly) reinforce common assumptions underlying commercialism and promote anti-environmental perspectives. Typical treatments of Hobbes, Locke, Descartes, Kant, Hume, and Bentham focus on human selfishness, mind-body dualism, the subjectivity of values, and the mathematical nature of reality, positions that are frequently identified as contributing causes both of the environmental crisis and of commercialism. The alternative, I argue, is to place canonical thinkers in historical perspective within a history of ideas that also includes such writers as Montaigne, Erasmus, Reid, Burke, Goethe, and Emerson. Such courses can be historically accurate, pedagogically sound, and environmentally benign.
199. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Erazim Kohák Varieties of Ecological Experience
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I draw on the resources of Husserlian phenomenology to argue that the way humans constitute nature as a meaningful whole by their purposive presence as hunter/gatherers (nature as mysterium tremendum), as herdsmen/farmers (nature as partner), and as producer/consumers (nature as resource) affects the way they respond to its distress—as to a resource failure, as a to flawed relationship, or asto a fate from which “only a god could save us.” I find all three responses wanting and look to a different experience, that of nature as an endangered species, as the ground for a more adequate response of accepting responsibility for our freedom, with the consequence of imposing ethical limits on the way that humans relate to all being, not to humans alone.
200. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Damian Cox On the Value of Natural Relations
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In “A Refutation of Environmental Ethics” Janna Thompson argues that by assigning intrinsic value to nonhuman elements of nature either our evaluations become (1) arbitrary, and therefore unjustified, or (2) impractical, or (3) justified and practical, but only by reflecting human interest, thus failing to be truly intrinsic to nonhuman nature. There are a number of possible responses to her argument, some of which have been made explicitly in reply to Thompson and others which are implicit in the literature. In this discussion I describe still another response, one which takes Thompson’s concerns about value seriously, but does not assign nature intrinsic or nonanthropocentric value. I suggest a relational environmental ethic as the basis for a genuinely ethical stance toward nature in which our relations to nature are a principal object of ethical concern.