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201. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Don Sherman Grant, II Religion and the Left: The Prospects of a Green Coalition
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Religionists and leftists have aligned themselves with several green causes, but have yet to engage each other in a real discussion of environmental issues. In this paper, I try to establish the basis for a dialogue between those segments of the religionist and leftist traditions that appear to have the most promise for forging a united green front. I label these two subgroups constructive postmodern religionistsand constructive postmodern leftists. I summarize the key ideas shared by each group, discuss how each can rectify some of the weaknesses of the other, and consider some potential philosophical barriers to their union. I conclude by issuing a call for dialogue on the issues presented here.
202. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Patrick Hayden Gilles Deleuze and Naturalism: A Convergence with Ecological Theory and Politics
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Some philosophers in recent discussions concerned with current ecological crises have attempted to address and sometimes to utilize poststructuralist thought. Yet few of their studies have delineated the ecological orientation of a specific poststructuralist. In this paper, I provide a discussion of the naturalistic ontology embraced by the contemporary French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, one of the most significant voices in poststructuralism. I interpret Deleuze as holding an ecologically informed perspective that emphasizes the human place within nature while encouraging awareness of and respect for the differences of interconnected life on the planet. I also suggest that this view may be joined with Deleuze’s innovative ethical-political approach, which he refers to as micropolitics, to create new ways of thinking and feeling that support social and political transformation with respect to the flourishing of ecological diversity. Finally, I briefly show how Deleuze’s ecological orientation compares to several versions of ecological theory and politics.
203. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Brian K. Steverson On Norton’s Reply to Steverson
204. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Jim Cheney Naturalizing the Problem of Evil
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I place my analysis and naturalization of the problem of evil in relation to (1) Holmes Rolston’s views on disvalues in nature and (2) the challenge posed to theology by environmental philosophy in the work of Frederick Ferré. In the analysis of the problem of evil that follows my discussion of Rolston and Ferré, I first discuss the transformative power for the religious believer of reflection on the problem of evil, using the biblical Job as a case study. I point out difficulties with Job’s particular resolution of the problem of evil and suggest that these difficulties can be satisfactorily addressed by naturalizing spirituality.
205. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Laura Westra Why Norton’s Approach is Insufficient for Environmental Ethics
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There has been an ongoing debate about the best approach in environmental ethics. Bryan Norton believes that “weak anthropocentrism” will yield the best results for public policy, and that it is the most defensible position. In contrast, I have argued that an ecocentric, holistic position is required to deal with the urgent environmental problems that face us, and that position is complemented by the ecosystem approach and complex systems theory. I have called this approach “the ethics of integrity,” and in this paper I show why this perspective suggests better solutions to difficult cases, for which “weak anthropocentrism” fails to provide an answer.
206. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Raymond Chipeniuk On Contemplating the Interests of Fish
207. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Bryan G. Norton, Bruce Hannon Environmental Values: A Place-Based Approach
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Several recent authors have recommended that “sense of place” should become an important concept in our evaluation of environmental policies. In this paper, we explore aspects of this concept, arguing that it may provide the basis for a new, “place-based” approach to environmental values. This approach is based on an empirical hypothesis that place orientation is a feature of all people’s experience of their environment. We argue that place orientation requires, in addition to a home perspective, a sense of the space around the home place and that this dual aspect can be modeled using a “hierarchical” methodology. We propose a “triscalar,” place-oriented system for the analysis of environmental values, explore the characteristics of place-orientation through several examples, and employ these characteristics to distinguish acceptable and unacceptable aspects of the NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) idea.
208. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Rudi M. Verburg, Vincent Wiegel On the Compatibility of Sustainability and Economic Growth
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It is generally assumed that sustainable development and economic growth are compatible objectives. Because this assumption has been left unspecified, the debate on sustainability and growth has remained vague and confusing. Attempts at specification not only involve clarification of the interrelation of the two concepts, but also, we argue, require a philosophical approach in which the concepts of sustainability and economic growth are analyzed in the context of our frame of reference. We suggest that if the notion of sustainability is to be taken seriously, the conflicting conceptual and normative orientations between the two concepts require the reconsideration of our frame of reference.
209. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Teresa Kwiatkowska-Szatzscheider From the Mexican Chiapas Crisis: A Different Perspective for Environmental Ethics
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The social unrest in Chiapas, a southern Mexican state, revealed the complexity of cultural and natural issues behind the idealized Western version of indigenous ecological ethics and its apparently universal perspective. In accordance with the conventional interpretation of traditional native beliefs, they are often pictured as alternative perspectives arising from challenges to the scientific worldview. Inthis paper, I point toward a more comprehensive account of human-environmental relation rooted in the particular type of social and natural conditions. I also discuss changes of place, changes of identity related to changes of place, and respective changes in modes of environmental sustainability. I conclude that modernization endangers two fundamental ethical insights: “openness” to the environment and respect for nonhuman living beings.
210. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 3
Charles J. List On Angling as an Act of Cruelty
211. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Robert Kirkman Why Ecology Cannot Be All Things to All People: The “Adaptive Radiation” of Scientific Concepts
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On the basis of a model of the development of scientific concepts as analogous to the “adaptive radiation” of organisms, I raise questions concerning the speculative project of many environmental philosophers, especially insofar as that project reflects on the relationship between ecology (the science) and ecologism (the worldview or ideology). This relationship is often understood in terms of anopposition to the “modern” worldview, which leads to the identification of ecology as an ally or as a foe of environmental philosophy even as ecological concepts are freely appropriated to inform speculation. I argue that ecology does not fit into the intellectual framework of such an opposition and that its concepts cannot readily be made to serve purposes outside of their specialized context without a loss of meaning. Finally, I suggest that environmental thought might do well to divest itself of its ecologistic commitments, adopting instead a skeptical approach to human-environment relations.
212. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Charles J. List Is Hunting a Right Thing?
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I argue that sport hunting is a right thing according to Leopold’s land ethic. First, I argue that what Leopold means by a “thing” (“A thing is right . . .”) is not a human action, as is generally assumed, but rather a practice of conservation that is an activity connecting humans to the land. Such an “outdoor” activity emphasizes internal rewards and the achievement of excellence according to standards which at least partially define the activity. To say that hunting is a right thing is to say that the practice of sport hunting tends in the direction of the land ethic. The actions of individual hunters are judged to be ethical or not by the standards of the practice; these standards are in turn evaluated by the precepts of the land ethic. Second, I discuss how the practical standards are evaluated. I argue that the concepts of integrity, stability, and beauty, contrary to some interpretations, are not inherent values of the biotic community, but rather labels carefully chosen by Leopold as three conduits for the ecological conscience necessary for the land ethic: the ethical, the ecological, and the aesthetic. I show that Leopold uses this model for his own evaluation of the practice of hunting as well as his evaluation of other practices of conservation. Thus, to ask about whether sport hunting is a right thing is to ask about the historical evolution of the standards of this practice and, of equal importance, about the future direction of these standards with regard to the land ethic.
213. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
K. L. F. Houle Spinoza and Ecology Revisted
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Spinoza has been appropriated as a philosophical forefather of deep ecology. I identify what I take to be the relevant components of Spinoza’s metaphysics, which, at face value, appear to be harmonious with deep ecology’s commitments. However, there are central aspects of his moral philosophy which do not appear to be “environmentally friendly,” in particular the sentiments expressed in the Ethics IV35C1 and IV37S1. I describe environmental ethics’ treatment of these passages and then indicate what I take to be a more satisfactory route toward “ecologizing Spinoza.”
214. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Paul Veatch Moriarty, Mark Woods Hunting ≠ Predation
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Holmes Rolston has defended certain forms of hunting and meat eating when these activities are seen as natural participation in the food chains in which we evolved. Ned Hettinger has suggested that some of Rolston’s principles that govern our interactions with plants and animals might appear to be inconsistent with Rolston’s defense of these activities. Hettinger attempts to show that they are not. We argue that Rolston’s principles are not consistent with hunting, given Hettinger’s modifications. In his defense of Rolston, Hettinger has challenged animal welfare ethicists to show that they can value animal predation while consistently condemning human hunting. We answer that hunting and meat eating by humans are “cultural” rather than “natural” activities.
215. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Mick Smith Against the Enclosure of the Ethical Commons: Radical Environmentalism as an “Ethics of Place”
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Inspired by recent anti-roads protests in Britain, I attempt to articulate a radical environmental ethos and, at the same time, to produce a cogent moral analysis of the dialectic between environmental destruction and protection. In this analysis, voiced in terms of a spatial metaphoric, an “ethics of place,” I seek to subvert the hegemony of modernity’s formal systematization and codification of values whilestill conserving something of modernity’s critical heritage: to reconstitute ethics in order to counter the current enclosure of the moral field within economistic and legal bureaucratic frameworks and institutions.
216. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Eilon Schwartz Bal Taschit: A Jewish Environmental Precept
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The talmudic law bal tashchit (”do not destroy”) is the predominant Jewish precept cited in contemporary Jewish writings on the environment. I provide an extensive survey of the roots and differing interpretations of the precept from within the tradition. The precept of bal tashchit has its roots in the biblical command not to destroy fruit-bearing trees while laying siege to a warring city. The rabbis expandthis injunction into the general precept of bal tashchit, a ban on any wanton destruction. Such a precept was interpreted in differing ways, along a continuum whose poles I describe as the minimalist and maximalist positions. In the minimalist position, interpreters limit the application of bal tashchit to only those situations in which natural resources and property are no longer viewed as having any economic or aesthetic worth. In the maximalist position, interpreters expand the application of bal tashchit to any situation in which nature and property are being destroyed for something other than basic human needs. Finally, I compare and contrast the substance and style of the discussion of bal tashchit from within the Jewish tradition with the contemporary discussion of environmental ethics.
217. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
J. A. Doeleman On the Social Rate of Discount: The Case for Macroenvironmental Policy
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Concern for the rapidly growing scale and intensity of the human exploitation of the environment, in particular the alienation of natural ecosystems, but also resource exhaustion, pollution, and congestion, leads one to wonder about the short time. horizons allowed for in decision making. Time preference is dictated by the rate of interest, allowing in practice a horizon often not exceeding several decades. I argue that this is unsatisfactory. Some minimal social rate of discount should not be enforced. Instead, it is more feasible to set absolute environmental standards, thereby introducing quantity constraints on our decision making, within which time preference can be permitted to find its own level. This acknowledges that the myopia of human vision may not be a flaw but rather a biological design which has served us weIl in evolution. It may, therefore, be better to change the rules by introducing self-imposed collective constraints than to try to change the shortsightedness of people in their day-to-day grass-roots decision making.
218. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Alastair S. Gunn Why Should We Care about Rare Species?
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Concern for the fate of rare species leads us to ask why the extermination of species is wrong. No satisfactory account can be given in terms of animal rights, and a speciesist perspective can yield at best only a case for preservation of those species which enough people happen to care about. An attempt is made to analyze the concept of rarity, and its relation to value. Finally, it is suggested that the problem can be resolved only in terms of an environmental ethic, according to which the existence of each species, and of ecological wholes, is held to have intrinsic value.
219. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Russell Goodman Taoism and Ecology
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Although they were in part otherworldly mystics, the Taoists of ancient China were also keen observers of nature; in fact, they were important early Chinese scientists. I apply Taoist principles to some current ecological questions. The principles surveyed include reversion, the constancy of cyclical change, wu wei (“actionless activity”), and the procurement of power by abandoning the attempt to “take” it. On the basis of these principles, I argue that Taoists would have favored such contemporary options as passive solar energy and organic fanning.
220. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Anthony J. Povilitis On Assigning Rights to Animals and Nature
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Watson argues that living entities do not have intrinsic or primary rights, such as the right to existence, unless they are capable of fulfilling reciprocal duties in a self-conscious manner. I suggest that (1) Watson’s “reciprocity framework” for rights and duties is excessively anthropocentric, (2) that it is founded on the incorrect assumption that the Golden Rule refers to mutual rather than individual duties, and (3) that Watson arbitrarily equates moral rights with primary rights. Since “intrinsic” rights are, in effect, assigned rights, the assignment of rights to a given entity is viewed as a function of its perceived value. Thus, in emphasizing differences between man and other living entities, Watson chooses Cartesian values in assigning rights. Conversely, the ecological and evolutionary relatedness of living things forms the basis for considering rights within the naturalist tradition.