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81. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Val Plumwood Ethics and Instrumentalism: A Response to Janna Thompson
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I argue that Janna Thompson’s critique of environmental ethics misrepresents the work of certain proponents of non-instrumental value theory and overlooks the ways in which intrinsie values have been related to valuers and their preferences. Some of the difficulties raised for environmental ethics (e.g., individuation) are real but would only be fatal if environmental ethics could not be supplemented by a wider environmental philosophy and practice. The proper context and motivation for the development of non-instrumental theories is not that of an objectivist value theory but rejection of the human domination and chauvinism involved in even the broadest instrumental accounts of nature as spiritual resource.
82. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kelly Bulkley The Quest for Transformational Experience
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Michael E. Zimmennan claims that the fundamental source of our society’s destructive environmental practices is our “dualistic consciousness,” our tendency to see ourselves as essentially separate from the rest of the world; he argues that only by means of the transfonnational experience of nondualistic consciousness can we develop a more life-enhancing environmental ethic. I suggest that dreams and dream interpretation may provide exactly this sort of experience. Dreams present us with powerful challenges to the ordinary categories and structures of our daily lives, and they reveal in numinous, transformational images how we are ultimately members of a web of being that includes alllife. I offer Victor Tumer’s concept of communitas as a means of clarifying and unifying the issues Zimmennan and I are discussing. In conclusion I sketch out some of the practical applications of these ideas to the task of improving our society’s treatment of the environment.
83. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Robin Attfield Has the History of Philosophy Ruined the Environment?
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I review and appraise Eugene C. Hargrove’s account of the adverse impacts of Western philosophy on attitudes to the environment. Although significant qualifications have to be entered, for there are grounds to hold that philosophical traditions which have encouraged taking nature seriously are not always given their due by Hargrove, and that environmental thought can draw upon deeper roots than he allows, his verdict that the history of philosophy has discouraged preservationist attitudes is substantially correct. Environmental philosophy thus has a significant (if not quite an unrivalled) role to play in the reconstruction of many of the traditional branches of philosophy, as weIl as in the protection of the natural world.
84. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Gary E. Varner No Holism without Pluralism
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In his recent essay on moral pluralism in environmental ethics, J. Baird Callicott exaggerates the advantages of monism, ignoring the environmentally unsound implications of Leopold’s holism. In addition, he fails to see that Leopold’s view requires the same kind of intellectual schitzophrenia for which he criticizes the version of moral pluralism advocated by Christopher D. Stone in Earth and Other Ethics. If itis plausible to say that holistic entities like ecosystems are directly morally considerable-and that is a very big if-it must be for a very different reason than is usually given for saying that individual human beings are directly morally considerable.
85. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Dave Foreman Martin, Watson, and Eco-sabotage
86. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Bryan G. Norton Thoreau’s Insect Analogies: Or Why Environmentalists Hate Mainstream Economists
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Thoreau believed that we can learn how to live by observing nature, a view that appeals to modem environmentalists. This doctrine is exemplified in Thoreau’s use of insect analogies to illustrate how humans, like butterflies, can be transformed from the “larval” stage, which relates to the physical world through consumption, to a “perfect” state in which consumption is less important, and in which freedom and contemplation are the ends of life. This transformational idea rests upon a theory of dynamic dualism in which the animal and the spiritual self remain in tension, but in which the “maturity” of the individual-transcendence of economic demands as imposed by society-emerges through personal growth based on observation of nature. Thoreau’s dynamic theory of value, and its attractiveness to environmentalists, explains why environmentalists reject the mainstream, neoclassical economic paradigm. This paradigm accepts consumer preferences as “givens” and treats these preferences as thesource of all value in their model. Because Thoreau insists that there is value in transformations from one preference set to another, the neoclassical paradigm cannot capture this central value, and cannot account for the environmentalists’ emphasis on public “education” to reduce consunlptive demands of humans on their environment.
87. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Saroj Chawla Linguistic and Philosophical Roots of Our Environmental Crisis
88. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Kenneth Sayre An Alternative View of Environmental Ethics
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Environmental ethics continues to be dominated by an in/erential view of ethical theory, according to which moral prescriptions and proscriptions are deduced from general principles, which in turn are arrived at intuitively or by some form of induction. I argue that the inferential approach contributes litde to the pressing need which environmental philosophers have been attempting to address in recent decades-the need for a set of normative values actually in place within industrial society that will help preserve the environment from human destruction. I propose an alternative view according to which the aim of environmental ethics is (1) a clear understanding of how moral norms actually come to be instituted in a given society, (2) the analysis of the practical effect of such norms from an environmental perspective, and (3) an examination of the relative desirability of alternative norms in light of their environmental effects. In pursuing this aim, environmental ethics should join forces with anthropology, economics, and other areas of social science in hopes of generatirtg a basis for empirical information about how moral norms actually operate. Such information might help persuade society at large of the importance of being guided by an environmentally sound set of normative values.
89. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Anthony Weston On Callicott’s Case against Moral Pluralism
90. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
John N. Martin Order Theoretic Properties of Holistic Ethical Theories
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Using concepts from abstract algebra and type theory, I analyze the structural presuppositions of any holistic ethical theory. This study is motivated by such recent holistic theories in environmental ethics as Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, James E. Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, Arne Naess’ deep ecology, and various aesthetic ethics of the sublime. I also discuss the holistic and type theoretic assumptions of suchstandard ethical theories as hedonism, natural rights theory, utilitarianism, Rawls’ difference principle, and fascism. I argue that although there are several common senses of part-whole in ethical theory, the central sense of holism in ethics is that of a theory that defines its key moral idea as an emergent group property grounded in the relational properties of its individual constituents. Hedonism and Kantianism do not count as holistic in this sense. Natural rights theory does in adegenerate way. Utilitarianism and various environmental ethics are paradigm examples. I point out as a general structural weakness of environmental holistic theories that their first-order grounding in nonmoral vocabulary seems to preclude an explanation of many moral intuitions about human ethics.
91. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Marc Bekoff, Dale Jamieson Sport Hunting as an Instinct
92. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Alastair S. Gunn The Restoration of Species and Natural Environments
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My aims in this article are threefold. First, I evaluate attempts to drive a wedge between the human and the natural in order to show that destroyed natural environments and extinct species cannot be restored; next, I examine the analogy between aesthetic value and the value of natural environments; and finally, I suggest briefly a different set of analogies with such human associations as families and cultures. My tentative conclusion is that while the recreation of extinct species may be logically impossible, the restoration of natural environments raises only (formidable, no doubt) technical difficulties. Opponents of destructive developments which do not exterminate species, therefore, had better look elsewhere, rather than relying on the claim that restoration is logically impossible.
93. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Steve Odin The Japanese Concept of Nature in Relation to the Environmental Ethics and Conservation Aesthetics of Aldo Leopold
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I focus on the religio-aesthetic concept of nature in Japanese Buddhism as a valuable complement to environmental philosophy in the West and develop an explicit comparison of the Japanese Buddhist concept of nature and the ecological world view of Aldo Leopold. I discuss the profound current of ecological thought running through the Kegon, Tendai, Shingon, Zen, Pure Land, and Nichiren Buddhist traditions as weIl as modem Japanese philosophy as represented by Nishida Kitarö and Watsuji Tetsurö. In this context, I present the Japanese concept of nature as an aesthetic continuum of interdependent events based on a field paradigm of reality. I show how the Japanese concept of nature entails an extension of ethics to include the relation between humans and the land. I argue that in both the Japanese Buddhist concept of nature and the thought of Aldo Leopold there is a hierarchy of normative values which grounds the land ethic in aland aesthetic. I also clarify the soteric concept of nature in Japanese Buddhism by which the natural environment becomes the ultimate locus of salvation for all sentient beings. In this way, I argue that the Japanese Buddhist concept of nature represents a fundamental shift from the egocentric to an ecocentric position-i.e., a de-anthropocentric standpoint which is nature-centered as opposed to human-centered.
94. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Jim Cheney Callicott’s “Metaphysics of Morals”
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In his campaign against moral pluralism, J. Baird Callicott has attempted to bring “theoretical unity and closure” to environmental ethics by providing a “metaphysics of morals” encompassing environmental, interpersonal, and social concems, as weIl as concems for domesticated animals. The central notion in this metaphysics is the community concept. I discuss two quite different, and separable, aspects of Callicott’s project. First, I argue that his metaphysics of morals does not provide ethical unity and closure. Second, and less specifically focused on Callicott, I discuss the thesis that we can derive ethical obligations from descriptions of the structures of the various communities to which we belong.
95. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Kristin Shrader-Frechette Ethical Dilemmas and Radioactive Waste: A Survey of the Issues
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The accidents at Three Mile Island and Chemobyl have slowed the development of commercial nuclear fission in most industrialized countries , although nuclear proponents are trying to develop smaller, allegedly “fail-safe” reactors. Regardless of whether or not they succeed, we will face the problem of radioactive wastes for the next million years. After a brief, “revisionist” history of the radwaste problem, Isurvey some of the major epistemological and ethical difficulties with storing nuclear wastes and outline four ethical dilemmas common to many technological and environmental controversies. I suggest two solutions to these ethical dilemmas and show why they are also economical and realistic proposals.
96. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth M. Harlow The Human Face of Nature: Environmental Values and the Limits of Nonanthropocentrism
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While some form of nonanthropocentrism is a defining feature of environmental ethics, there are at least four senses in which the value of nature might be said to be humanly independent, and these are often conflated. I argue that the strongest of these four (Roiston’s “autonomous intrinsic value”) may require classic ontological commitments which are no longer historically open to uso However, if we take seriously the language dependent view of nature suggested by post-Wittgensteinian epistemology, we find paradoxically that this kind of anthropocentrism can ground a genuine sense in which nature is valuable in its own right, yet as part of human good. In this context, Roiston’s distinction between “autonomous intrinsic value” and “anthropogenic intrinsic value” becomes a distinction without a difference.
97. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Lloyd H. Steffen In Defense of Dominion
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The biblical notion of dominion has often been cited as the source and sanction for Western attitudes of environmental disregard. An analysis of the Genesis passage in which dominion (radah) is mentioned reveals a curious misreading of the text: dominion is actually an ideal of human-divine intimacy and peacefulness-as one ought to expect in a paradise creation story. I analyze Genesis dominion not only as areligious concept, but also as a philosophical notion manifesting the Hebrew self-understanding of its contemporary experience with the natural world. Being a verb, radah is also an action concept that connotes an ethic of environmental responsibility. Dominion authorizes a philosophical critique of Western attitudes and practices of environmental exploitation. I defend it here as an intentional expression of the Western religious consciousness that could, if it were understood as an ideal of responsible action rather than as an authorization for callous disregard of the natural world, actually promote interreligious dialogue on environmental issues.
98. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Douglas E. Booth The Economics and Ethics of Old-Growth Forests
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An intense debate is currently underway in the Pacific Northwest over whether remnant old-growth forests should be preserved or harvested. Old-growth forests can be viewed (1) as objects used instrumentally to serve human welfare or (2) as entities that possess value in themselves and are thus worthy of moral consideration. I compare the instrumental view suggested by economic analysis with the biocentric and ecocentric alternatives and suggest a reconciliation of these approaches in the context of old-growth preservation.
99. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Richard A. Watson Misanthropy, Humanity, and the Eco-Warriors
100. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Susan P. Bratton Loving Nature: Eros or Agape?
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Christian ethics are usually based on a theology of love. In the case of Christian relationships to nature, Christian environmental writers have either suggested eros as a primary source for Christian love, without dealing with traditional Christian arguments against eros, or have assumed agape (spiritual love or sacrificial love) is the appropriate mode, without defining how agape should function in human relationships with the nonhuman portion of the universe. I demonstrate that God’s love for nature has the same form and characteristics as God’s love for human beings, and that because agape is self-giving, it is preferable to eros in relationships with the environment. Agape concerning nature (I) is spontaneous and unmotivated, (2) is indifferent to value, (3) creates value, (4) initiates relationships with the divine, (5) recognizes individuality, (6) provides freedom, and (7) produces action and suffering. Agape might best be defined, not as Platonic ascent above the world, but as completely self-giving engagement with the world. Human love for nature is often limited by a human inability to accept love, including divine love, from nature. Flowing from God, agape cannot require reciprocity; yet agape understands what “the other has to give and can offer it complete valuation. Agape is the ideal form of human interaction with nature, because agape does not require equal status or ability, or common goals or needs. Love between humans and members of the land (or sea) community can be sacrificial, and should be distinguished by a loss of self-regard and a willingness to suffer. Further philosophical and theological discussion of the role of reciprocity and sacrifice in love for nature is highly desirable.