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241. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
David W. Kidner Culture and the Unconscious in Environmental Ethics
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I argue that much current environmental theory is unwittingly grounded in assumptions about personhood that entangle it within existing ideology. Culture theory, I suggest, offers a way out of this entanglement through its perception of our immersion within a symbolic realm which precedes consciousness. Environmental theory, by embodying, articulating and legitimating cultural forms, can avoid being assimilated by those individualistic and scientistic assumptions which undermine its potential.
242. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Arran E. Gare MacIntyre, Narratives, and Environmental Ethics
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While environmental philosophers have been striving to extend ethics to deal with future generations and nonhuman life forms, very little work has been undertaken to address what is perhaps a more profound deficiency in received ethical doctrines, that they have very little impact on how people live. I explore Alasdair MacIntyre’s work on narratives and traditions and defend a radicalization of his arguments as a direction for making environmental ethics efficacious.
243. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
M. M. Van de Pitte “The Female is Somewhat Duller”: The Construction of the Sexes in Ornithological Literature
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I review ornithological literature in order to demonstrate that conventions of description and illustration, as well as some aspects of biological theory relating to birds, put a strong focus on male birds. I criticize the sexist aspects of ornithology from the standpoint of recent feminist philosophy of science, establishing connections between the ways in which we view animals and the ways in which we viewourselves and arguing that it is costly to humans, specifically women, to suggest that females of the nonhuman species are biologically inadequate in relation to their male counterparts. Finally, I note that failure to notice and excise residual sexism in animal science also encourages people to be inattentive to and less considerate of a large and significant part of nature. I conclude with some suggestionsfor reform.
244. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Dionys de Leeuw The Interests of Fish: A Reply to Chipaniuk and List
245. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Hood Rorty and Postmodern Environmental Ethics
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Richard Rorty’s pragmatic abandonment of epistemological representationalism has important implications for environmental ethics, particularly postmodern environmental ethics. I discuss Rorty’s position and show that Mark Sagoff’s version of it allows for both rational negotiation of public environmental issues and for the creation of solidarity among people regarding the environment. I then discuss Eugene Hargrove’s view that representation, rather than being implicated in the destruction of nature, is a key element in preserving (the intrinsic value of) nature. I conclude that Hargrove’s position is compatible with Rorty’s and Sagoff’s positions and I argue that aesthetic representation may still be needed in a postmodern world that has abandoned epistemological representationalism.
246. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Andrew Light Clarifying the Public/Private Distinction
247. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Warren Neill An Emotocentric Theory of Interests
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It is plausible to hold that ethical obligations are concerned with bringing about the existence of things that have value, where something is of value if and only if it is in the interest of some entity. Here the notion of an interest may be defined as whatever contributes to the well-being of a morally significant entity. I argue that interests are limited to individuals with the capacity for affective response. After briefly distinguishing between various different types of value, I defend this emotocentric theory of interests against objections raised by Paul Taylor and Gary Varner, both of whom grant interests to a larger class of entities. I argue that there are serious problems with attempts to associate interests with mere goaldirectedness or with the mere possession of biological functions.
248. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Michel Dion A Typology of Corporate Environmental Policies
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Although many small businesses and a great number of large enterprises have environmental policies, the contents of such policies vary widely according to their emphases either on technical rationality and technocentrism/technocracy or on ecological rationality and ecocentrism/ecocracy. I present them in four categories: with regard to strong anthropocentrism, (1) the neo-technocratic enterprise and (2) the techno-environmentalist enterprise; and with regard to weak anthropocentrism, (3) the pseudo-environmentalist enterprise and (4) the quasi-environmentalist enterprise. Such a typology can be useful for business managers to write and/or review their environmental policies. However, it only reflects the “ideal values” of the enterprise, not the corporate story with regard to environmental issues.
249. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Beth A. Dixon On Women and Animals: A Reply to Gruen and Gaard
250. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Gabriela Roxana Carone Plato and the Environment
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In this paper, I set out to refute several charges that have recently been raised against Plato’s attitude toward the environment and to present him under a new light of relevance for the contemporary environmental debate. For this purpose, I assess the meaning of Plato’s metaphysical dualism, his notion of nature and teleology, and the kind of value that he attributes to animals, plants, and the land in general. I thus show how Plato’s organicist view of the universe endows it with an intrinsic value that is over and above each of its parts, including humans, and provides an argument for the preservation of species of nonhuman animals, which in many relevant ways are not ranked below the human species. In addition, I show how Plato’s dialogues provide good evidence for human concern about the environment and how such a concern is promoted rather than hindered by his nonanthropocentric notion of teleology.
251. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Yuriko Saito Appreciating Nature on Its Own Terms
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I propose that the appropriate appreciation of nature must include the moral capacity for acknowledging the reality of nature apart from humans and the sensitivity for listening to its own story. I argue that appreciating nature exclusively as design is inappropriate to the extent that we impose upon nature a preconceived artistic standard as well as appreciation based upon historical/cultural/literary associationsinsofar as we treat nature as a background of our own story. In contrast, aesthetic appreciation informed by our attempt to make sense of nature, such as science, mythology, and folklore, is appropriate because it guides our experience toward understanding nature’s own story embodied in its sensuous surface.
252. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Jim Cheney Universal Consideration: An Epistemological Map of the Terrain
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I offer an epistemologically grounded revisioning of Tom Birch’s ethical principle of universal consideration, suggesting that epistemologies have ethical dimensions and hence that universal moral consideration is intrinsic to the epistemological enterprise. I contrast epistemologies of domination with epistemologies in part constituted by the generosity of spirit that is the hallmark of Birch’s notion of universal consideration.
253. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Claudia Drucker Hanna Arendt on the Need for a Public Debate on Science
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I discuss Arendt’s claim that science and its uses should become a matter of political discussion. The suggestion that science can be discussed and monitored by lay people is based on her interpretation of modern science. Modern science results from a flight from the human condition, which in her view should be reversed by means of the public debate. I conclude that Arendt’s political approach should in fact be called a moral approach. Arendt’s arguments can be reduced to a traditional humanistic critique of science, interpreted as a version of Kant’s antinomy between the cognitive and the moral interests of reason, according to which scientists must be prevented from treating human beings as a natural species like any other.
254. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Julie Cook The Philosophical Colonization of Ecofeminism
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There is general agreement among ecofeminists regarding the desirability of a variety of expressions of ecofeminism, but this pluralism is under threat with the emergence of an approach that emphasizes the primacy of a philosophical ecofeminism which claims the authority to prescribe what ecofeminism should be. The recent anthology Ecological Feminism is symptomatic of this trend, with contributors who affirm the philosophical significance of ecological feminism by privileging philosophers’ voices over those of other ecofeminists, rather than by engaging in critical dialogue with, and exploring connections between, different ecofeminist discourses. This colonizing strategy actively excludes many women’s voices from the creation of an environmental ethic, including those of activist, spiritual, and “Third World” ecofeminists, but fails to offer any adequate philosophical grounds for doing so.
255. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Chris Crittenden Subordinate and Oppressive Conceptual Frameworks: A Defense of Ecofeminist Perspectives
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In this essay, I first demonstrate that Beth Dixon’s central arguments challenging Karen Warren’s “logic of domination” do not succeed. Second, I argue that the logic of domination not only connects the oppression of women and animals—a possibility that Dixon disputes—but it in fact plays a significant role in connecting these oppressions, and many others besides, in its capacity as a component of a larger oppressive conceptual framework. My negative arguments against Dixon provide a foundation for the positive arguments in the second half of the paper, wherein, in contravention of her project, I establish that humans and animals clearly share emotions in a philosophically interesting sense, that this affective similarity allows us to draw conclusions about the oppression of animals from situations oppressive to humans, and, the main thesis, that the suffering of women, animals, and other oppressed groups is the symptom of a ubiquitous mindset morally untenable, psychologically dysfunctional, and characterized by an ideology of superior/inferior-dominator/dominated thinking.
256. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Anthony Weston Universal Consideration as an Originary Practice
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Tom Birch has decisively transformed the so-called “considerability” question by arguing that all things must be “considerable” from the start in “the root sense” if we are to determine what further kinds of value they may have. Spelling out this kind of “root” or “deep” consideration proves to be difficult, however, especially in light of post-Kantian conceptions of mind. Such consideration may also ask of the world too ready a kind of self-revelation. This paper proposes another, complementary version of universal consideration: as a kind of practical invitation, as a way of creating the space within which a response can emerge or an exchange coevolve. I conclude by locating this vision within a picture of ethics as a whole that brings what I call its “originary” stage, rather than its formal stage, into focus.
257. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Alan McQuillan Passion and Instrumentality
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Although J. Baird Callicott and Bryan G. Norton define the word intrinsic quite differently, both are against any “essentialist” position which posits “an objectivist theory of value in nature.” Viewed in this context, their differences emerge in terms of instrumentality and anthropocentrism. While a nonanthropocentrist position is tenable, it cannot be divorced from the centrality of human passion and desire. From the Humean perspective, assumed by both authors, however, desire does not reduce to instrumental value alone. As a result, Callicott’s position emerges as the stronger argument: that the moral consideration of nature requires more than instrumental value, no matter how broadly instrumentality is construed.
258. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 3
Stan Godlovitch Things Change: So Whither Sustainability?
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Two broad metaphysical perspectives deriving from Parmenides and Heraclitus have implications for our notion of sustainability. The Parmenidian defends a deepseated orderliness and permanence in things, while the Heraclitian finds only chance and change. Two further outlooks, the nomic (or the big-picture scientific) and the prudential, present differing accounts of our place in the world. While the nomic outlook accepts nothing privileged about the human perspective or even life itself, the prudential outlook is obviously welfare-centered. It is argued that nomic views, whether Parmenidian or Heraclitian, fail to provide any rationale for sustainability measures or concerns. The only such rationale comes from Parmenidian prudentialism, which, I argue, can operate only if it disowns at its peril the nomic point of view and couches sustainability entirely under the rubric of maximizing certain preferred opportunities drawn from collective self-love. But doing so merely evades rather than answers the tension imposed by the nomic Heraclitian for whom nothing lasts and nothing human counts specially in the measure. The liabilities of Parmenidian prudentialism are examined and found to be too great for any consistent notion of sustainability to bear.
259. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 4
Alastair S. Gunn Rethinking Communities: Environmental Ethics in an Urbanized World
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Humans have largely transformed the natural environment and there is scarcely an area of the world which has not been affected by human activity. Human domination of the environment, in particular by the creation of infrastructure, urbanization, and conversion to agriculture, has mostly proceeded in an unplanned and frequently destructive manner. Almost fifty percent of humans already live in cities and this proportion will continue to grow. However, issues of urbanization are little addressed in the environmental philosophical literature. I explore community and sustainability in an urban context, drawing on the work of the landscape architect Ian McHarg who, I argue, may have more to offer an urbanized world than iconic figures such as Aldo Leopold.
260. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 20 > Issue: 4
James P. Sterba A Biocentrist Strikes Back
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Biocentrists are criticized (1) for being biased in favor of the human species, (2) for basing their view on an ecology that is now widely challenged, and (3) for failing to reasonably distinguish the life that they claim has intrinsic value from the animate and inanimate things that they claim lack intrinsic value. In this paper, I show how biocentrism can be defended against these three criticisms, thus permitting biocentrists to justifiably appropriate the salutation, “Let the life force (or better the ethical demands of life) be with you.”