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61. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 4
Catherine Larrère “A Life Worthy of Being Called Human”: The Actuality of Hans Jonas’ Maxim
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“Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life on Earth.” How can we understand Jonas’ “maxim”? Is it too anthropocentric to be of any interest for an environmental ethic? Is is too limited to survival to have a moral signification in a truly human ethic? One can argue first that it is not so much anti-Kantian than that it challenges the current prevailing “presentism” and obliges us to take into consideration not only future generations, but also the context in which one anticipates these future generations to be living. Therefore, we can distinguish two different interpretations of Jonas’ maxim: in a first stage, that of sustainable development, it was understood as taking into consideration not only the needs but also the rights of future generations; in a second stage, that of an Anthropocene and ecological transition, it means that making sense of humanity implies connecting human beings to the Earth and other living beings far from opposing them.
62. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 4
Eric Pommier The Problem of Environmental Democracy: Responsibility and Deliberation
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The work of Hans Jonas’ has been largely overlooked by environmental philosophers. His Principle of Responsibility can help guide effective development of political institutions for environmental purposes. It is possible to use this principle to develop a deliberative and environmental conception of democracy. Some implications of the social contract framework of deliberative democracy show that Jonas’ conceptualization of responsibility leads to an environmental and deliberative conception of democracy by accommodating different citizens’ senses of the good in terms of an environmentally conceived global governance.
63. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 4
Daniel Loewe Environmental Intergenerational Justice and the Nonidentity Problem: A Kantian Approach
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A moral Kantian approach can be developed to deal with the nonidentity problem with regard to environmental intergenerationl justice—at least in cases of depletion or risky policy. Being a duty-oriented moral theory, this approach allows both that people coming into existence in a nonidentity situation can be glad to exist while simultaneously taking into account depletion or risky policy, to which their existence is causally related, as possibly being morally wrong because of a violation of moral duties.
64. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 4
Hernán Neira Climax: Biology and Ethics in Environmental Restoration
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Justifications for the environmental restoration of the Pumalín National Park, originally known as Pumalín Nature Sanctuary, in Chile can be analyzed from a philosophical and ethical point of view. The environmental stage to which the park should be restored is defined as a moral choice, rather than an ecological one, that is based on “climax” as an a priori value that supports and guides the main restoration actions carried out in the park. This climax is a pre-settling or pre-colonization condition. Defined philosophically, climax is both an ethical and political value. For these actions, the ecosystem’s health can be treated the same as that of a human’s health: each society defines the criteria and the acme of health, as well as the valid efforts to restore it.
65. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 4
Andrea Nye Aimé Bonpland: A Land Ethic in the La Plata
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Recent books promote Alexander Humboldt as an environmental hero, dismissing Humboldt’s partner in exploration, the botanist Aimé Bonpland, in a few inaccurate phrases: left Europe, went native somewhere in South America, did some farming. Bonpland’s writings and his forty years of regional development, botanical research, ethno-pharmacology, and environmental conservation in Argentina and Brazil present a better model for an environmental ethics than Humboldt’s climb to fame in Europe.
66. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Jorge Torres Plato’s Anthropocentrism Reconsidered
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Plato’s ideas on the value of nature and humankind are reconsidered. The traditional suggestion that his thought is ethically anthropocentric is rejected. Instead “Ethical Ratiocentrism” (ER) is the environmental worldview found in the dialogues. According to ER, human life is not intrinsically valuable, but only rational life is. ER is consistent with Plato’s holistic axiological outlook but incompatible with ethical anthropocentrism.
67. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Benjamin Hole Radical Virtue and Climate Action
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Radical virtue serves two distinct purposes: consolation in unfavorable circumstances, and prescription to achieve better ones. This paper maps out the theoretical nuances important for practical guidance. For a Stoic, radical virtue is a way to live well through environmental tragedy. For a consequentialist, it is an instrument to motivate us to combat climate change. For an Aristotelian, it is both. I argue that an Aristotelian approach fares the best, balancing the aim of external success with the aim of living well through practical wisdom. This involves criticizing assumptions about living well that underlie behaviors that contribute to climate change. Some might object virtue theory suffers from application problems, and an Aristotelian approach suffers even more because it does not tell the virtuous person how to negotiate her aims. In response, Aristotelian revision starts with moral perception that adds valuable content by navigating through the messiness.
68. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Rafael Rodrigues Pereira Virtue Ethics and the Trilemma Facing Sentiocentrism: Questioning Impartiality in Environmental Ethics
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This article aims to question the value of impartiality in environmental ethics by highlighting a problem internal to the bioethics approach known as sentiocentrism. The principle that all beings with the same degree of consciousness should receive the same moral treatment would lead to a trilemma, i.e., the need to choose among three morally unacceptable choices. I argue those problems are related to the premise, shared by Utilitarianism and rights-centered theories, that impartiality is the constitutive feature of the moral point of view. In the last part of my article, I discuss how this problem points to some advantages of a virtue ethics approach to environmental ethics.
69. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Katharine Wolfe Nourishing Bonds: The Ethics and Ecology of Nursing
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The care ethics tradition has long argued for the merits of understanding the self as relational. Inspired by this tradition, but also by ecofeminist philosophies that insist on the need to consider our wider ecological and interspecies connections, this paper focuses on the relational elements of breast/chestfeeding (most frequently referred to as ‘nursing’ for gender-neutrality) and their ethical implications. I show nursing to be an act that not only 1) connects us to one another through bonds of nourishment and care but also 2) reconnects us to our animal selves and enlivens connections to non-human animals. Moreover, I argue that nursing 3) exposes our entwinement in a web of ecological relationships through which the toxic harm we have wrought on our environment returns to us. To draw out the ethical implications of these connections, I introduce the concept of ‘relational vulnerabilities.’ Relational vulnerabilities are forged through our connections to others, be they bonds of dependence and need, historical harm and ongoing violence, love and joy, or all at once. I contend that all relational vulnerabilities call for ethical attention, yet, when it comes to nursing, these vulnerabilities are often neglected or, worse, made the targets of heinous abuse.
70. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Espen D. Stabell Why Environmental Philosophers Should Be "Buck-Passers" about Value
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The value of nature has been extensively debated in environmental ethics. There has been less discussion, however, about how one should understand the relation between this value and normativity, or reasons: if something in nature is seen as valuable, how should we understand the relation between this fact and claims about reasons to, for example, protect it or promote its existence? The “commonsense” view is that value gives rise to reasons. The buck-passing account of value (BPA), on the other hand, implies that for an entity or state of affairs in nature to be valuable just is for it to have properties (other than that of being valuable) that provide reasons to promote or have a pro-attitude towards it. BPA has been extensively debated, but has received little attention in environmental philosophy. In this paper, it is argued that the view suggests a “reasons first” approach to environmental ethics, and that it should be preferred to competing accounts of value in the context of environmental ethics.
71. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Igor Eterović Grounding Responsibility to Future Generations from a Kantian Standpoint
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The problem of responsibility to future generations is inherently related to responsibility for the environment. Attempting to provide a new grounding for the figuration of such responsibility, Hans Jonas used Immanuel Kant’s ethics as a paradigm of traditional ethics to provide a critique of their limitations in addressing these issues, and he found three crucial problems in Kant’s ethics (formalism, presentism, and individualism). Kant’s philosophy provides enough material for an answer to Jonas by building an account which 1) gives a teleological grounding of responsibility for the environment and consequently responsibility to future generations; 2) enables the establishment of collective responsibility towards the idea of moral progress, which includes future generations; and 3) answers Jonas’s challenge by extending moral concerns to other living and non-living beings and especially to future generations.
72. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Jean-Paul Vessel Desert-Adjusted Utilitarianism, People, and Animals
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Recent decades have witnessed a surge in philosophical attention to the moral standing of non-human animals. Kantians, Neo-Kantians, utilitarians, and radical animal rights theorists have staked their claims in the literature. Here Fred Feldman’s desert-adjusted utilitarianism is introduced into the fray. After canvassing the prominent competitors in the dialectic, a conception of an overall moral ranking (relative to a moral choice scenario) consonant with desert-adjusted utilitarianism is developed. Then the conception’s implications regarding the particular locations of individual people and animals in such rankings across various scenarios is explored. Ultimately, it is argued that when it comes to evaluating whether or not some benefit (or burden) morally ought to be bestowed upon some specific person or animal, this new conception of an overall moral ranking is sensitive to a wider range of morally relevant phenomena than its more prominent competitors.
73. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 43 > Issue: 4
Michel Bourban Strong Sustainability Ethics
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This article explains how strong sustainability ethics has emerged and developed as a new field over the last two decades as a critical response to influential conceptions of weak sustainability. It investigates three competing, normative approaches to strong sustainability: the communitarian approach, the Rawlsian approach, and the capabilities approach. Although these approaches converge around the idea that there are critical, non-substitutable natural resources and services, they diverge on how to reconcile human development and environmental protection. The aim of the paper is to provide a critical overview of these three perspectives, but also and mostly to show that when we put them into dialogue with each other, we can clarify the demands of sustainability. The paper concludes that the capabilities approach is the most suitable way to think about sustainability, but only if it goes beyond its dominantly anthropocentric view.
74. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Anna Deplazes-Zemp Are People Part of Nature? Yes and No: A Perspectival Account of the Concept of ‘Nature’
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The question of whether or not people are part of nature is relevant to discuss humans’ role on earth and their environmental responsibilities. This article introduces the perspectival account of the concept of ‘nature,’ which starts from the observation that we talk about the environment from a particular, human perspective. In this account, the term ‘nature’ is used to refer to those parts of and events in the environment we perceive as being shaped by typically human activities. Humans themselves are part of nature insofar as they participate in and are products of natural processes. Therefore, in this account, nature is not only the passive environment, but also something active and generative that does not operate human creativity, but rather and it in shaping our environment. According to the perspectival account, the ‘nature’ concept expresses a particular relationship between the human agent and the non-human environment, which can be the starting point for normative theory.
75. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Matthew Hall Empathy for Plants
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Empathy, and its role in human-human and human-animal relationships, has been discussed at length in recent years. Empathy for plants has received little to no attention. In this essay I briefly examine existing theory about human-plant empathy, primarily Marder’s account of a projective empathy. I use contemporary scholarship by Dan Zahavi, as well as phenomenological accounts of empathy, to query this understanding of empathy and to lay the conceptual groundwork for developing an account of empathy for plants in line with Max Scheler’s embodied empathy. In doing so, I sketch an account of the basis for human-plant empathy, including the gestures and behaviors that an empathy for plants may pay particular heed to. The essay concludes by outlining how such an empathy for plants may be developed.
76. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Anna Wienhues, Anna Deplazes-Zemp Otherness-based Reasons for the Protection of (Bio)Diversity
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Different arguments in favor of the moral relevance of the concept of biodiversity (e.g., in terms of its intrinsic or instrumental value) face a range of serious difficulties, despite that biodiversity constitutes a central tenet of many environmentalist practices and beliefs. That discrepancy is considerable for the debate on potential moral reasons for protecting biodiversity. This paper adds a new angle by focusing on the potential of the concept of natural otherness—specifically individual and process otherness in nature—for providing additional moral reasons in favor of the protection of biodiversity as variety. Four arguments are presented. Two arguments draw on the individual natural otherness of nonhuman living beings and two additional arguments draw on the process otherness of active nature. The upshot is that each of these arguments—if successful—provides a moral reason in favor of the protection of biodiversity.
77. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Kyle Michael James Shuttleworth Authenticity Beyond the Anthropocene: Self-realization and Symbiosis in Naess and Watsuji
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In this paper, an ecologically extended ethic of authenticity is developed in dialogue with the Norwegian environmentalist Arne Naess and the Japanese ethicist Watsuji Tetsurō. More specifically, Naess’s concept of Self-realization is supplemented and supported with Watsuji’s ethic of authenticity (本来性) and phenomenology of climate (風土). And the ecological potential of Watsuji’s thought is realized in relation to Naess’s ideas of human responsibility and symbiosis. After establishing an ecologically extended ethic of authenticity, the practical application of this concept is then demonstrated in relation to satoyama and the preservation of nature in Japan. Whilst the intended outcome is to develop an ecologically extended ethic of authenticity, a secondary aim is to illustrate the benefit and importance of cross-cultural dialogue to advance philosophical thought and understanding.
78. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: Supplement
Robert Frodeman Filosofía No Confinada: Pensamiento Ambiental al Fin del Mundo
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Desafíos ambientales como aquellos que enfrenta la región del Cabo de Hornos en Chile, superan la competencia de cualquier marco disciplinario. Las aproximaciones interdisciplinarias al conocimiento, combinando la pericia de varias disciplinas, como también las perspectivas transdisciplinarias de los sectores público y privado, requieren un elemento unificador que permita integrar perspectivas tan dispares. El campo de la filosofía, que tradicionalmente ha ofrecido una visión del conocimiento en su totalidad, puede cumplir nuevamente esta función si los filósofos están dispuestos a adoptar una expresión des-disciplinaria de la filosofía.
79. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: Supplement
Ricardo Rozzi, Ximena Arango, Francisca Massardo, Christopher Anderson, Kurt Heidinger, Kelli Moses Filosofía Ambiental de Campo y Conservación Biocultural: El Programa Educativo del Parque Etnobotánico Omora
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Los hábitats (dónde vivimos), los hábitos (cómo vivimos) y los habitantes (quiénes somos) constituyen una unidad ética a la vez que ecosistémica. Sin embargo, los hábitats son usualmente estudiados por ecólogos, en cambio, los hábitos por filósofos y otras disciplinas sociales. Con el fin de superar esta disociación, iniciamos un programa transdisciplinario de campo coordinado por ecólogos y filósofos ambientales, que ensaya una visión más integral de los habitantes embebidos en sus hábitats y hábitos en la ecorregión subantártica de Sudamérica. La biosfera puede ser concebida como un reticulado mosaico de unidades hábitats-hábitos-habitantes, donde los humanos han co-evolucionado con sus lenguas indígenas, sus prácticas y conocimientos ecológicos. Este mosaico está siendo hoy destruido por la imposición de un único modelo económico-cultural globalizado. Un segundo objetivo de nuestro programa transdisciplinario es contribuir a la conservación de la diversidad bio-cultural, especialmente en la ecorregión subantártica. En Cabo de Hornos, en el extremo sur de América, encontramos que los educadores, las autoridades y los tomadores de decisiones conocen poco acerca de los hábitats, las lenguas y la flora nativa. En contraste, los miembros de la Comunidad Indígena Yagán y los residentes antiguos poseen un conocimiento detallado acerca de la diversidad biológica y cultural nativa; sin embargo, ellos participan poco en la toma de decisiones y en el sistema de educación formal. Para ayudar a superar esta disociación entre los hábitats-hábitos-habitantes de Cabo de Hornos y aquellos promovidos por la “sociedad global”, en 1999 comenzamos el programa de educación, investigación y conservación biocultural del Parque Etnobotánico Omora que involucra tres etapas críticas: (1) descubrimiento de la diversidad biocultural con una aproximación de “filtro fino” que permite la detección de niveles de diversidad cultural y biológica usualmente omitidos por conceptos generales universalizantes, tales como amerindio versus eurocéntrico o conocimiento ecológico local versus global; (2) encuentros directos “cara a cara” con los co-habitantes humanos y no-humanos en sus hábitats nativos, a través de los cuales la diversidad biocultural deja de ser sólo un concepto o indicador numérico y comienza a ser una experiencia de co-habitación; y (3) actividades de educación y conservación. Estos pasos han sido implementados a escala local, regional e internacional a través de la creación de la Reserva de Biosfera Cabo de Hornos, nominada por UNESCO el 2005, y el establecimiento del Programa de Conservación Biocultural Subantártica, coordinado por la Universidad de Magallanes, el Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad de Chile y la University of North Texas.
80. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 30 > Issue: Supplement
Christopher B. Anderson, Gene E. Likens, Ricardo Rozzi, Julio R. Gutiérrez, Juan J. Armesto, Alexandria Poole Integrando la Ciencia y la Sociedad a través de la Investigación Socio-Ecológica de Largo Plazo
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La investigación ecológica a largo plazo (Long Term Ecological Research, LTER) maneja problemas que abarcan décadas o plazos más largos. El programa y su nombre formal comenzaron en Estados Unidos en 1980. Si bien los estudios y observaciones a largo plazo comenzaron tempranamente en 1400 y 1800 en Asia y Europa, respectivamente, el enfoque a largo plazo no se formalizó sino hasta el establecimiento de los programas de investigación ecológica de largo plazo en Estados Unidos. Estos programas han permitido experimentos a nivel de ecosistemas y comparaciones entre sitios que condujeron a una mejor comprensión de la estructura y funcionamiento de la biosfera. El enfoque ecosistémico holístico de esta iniciativa permite también la incorporación de la dimensión humana en la ecología, y recientemente ha dado lugar al nuevo concepto de investigación socio-ecológica de largo plazo (LTSER). Hoy los programas de investigación socio-ecológica a largo plazo existen en por lo menos 32 países (esto es, los miembros de la Red Internacional de Investigación Ecológica a Largo Plazo o ILTER (International Long Term Ecological Research). Sin embargo, la consolidación de la red internacional dentro del paradigma de investigación socio-ecológica a largo plazo todavía requiere: (1) inclusión de algunas regiones remotas del mundo que aún están poco representadas, como el suroeste de América del Sur; (2) modificaciones en el tipo de investigación realizado, tales como la integración de las ciencias sociales y naturales con las humanidades y la ética, y (3) la incorporación de las conclusiones y resultados dentro de los procesos sociales y políticos. En este contexto, la naciente red de investigación socio-ecológica a largo plazo en Chile, que se extiende en el rango latitudinal más largo de bosque templado en el Hemisferio Sur, agrega una nueva región remota a las investigaciones ecológicas de largo plazo que había sido pasada por alto anteriormente. Además, la colaboración con la Universidad de North Texas y otros asociados internacionales ayuda a desarrollar un enfoque interdisciplinario para integrar las ciencias ecológicas y la filosofía ambiental, junto con los conocimientos ecológicos tradicionales, la educación informal y formal, la política, las humanidades, los procesos socio-políticos y la conservación biocultural.