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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
News and Notes
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Robert Earle, Is Natural Beauty the Given?
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The contemporary interpretation of the history of the aesthetics of nature has been analyzed by Allen Carlson, Ronald Hepburn, Theodor Adorno, and others. According to their interpretation, it has been maintained that pre-Kantian accounts of beauty (taken generally) prioritized natural beauty over art and that Kant was either the last to follow this model or the first to “humanize” aesthetics for reasons pertaining to his ethical system. This interpretation can be called into question via an analysis of the moral and cultural aspects of pre-Kantian and Kantian aesthetics of nature, appealing, in particular, to the works of Lord Shaftesbury, John Dennis, and Joseph Addison. The main focus is on an explication of what this common contemporary interpretation of aesthetic history has to say about contemporary aesthetic theory. The pre-Kantian aesthetics of nature is so radically different from the work of these recent theorists that it is inaccurate to link members from those periods together as allies. Rather, this commonly depicted history of the aesthetic of nature, in which mid-twentieth century figures discuss a “turning away from nature,” is both historically problematic and in keeping with a general twentieth-century nostalgia for an idyllic past.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Laura M. Hartman, David Prytherch, Streets to Live In: Justice, Space, and Sharing the Road
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Public streets are central to the built environment, where individuals seek a fair share of the roadway’s benefits and harms. But the American street, an asphalt landscape typically defined and designed for cars, can be inaccessible, unhealthy, and dangerous for the non-motorized, whose transportation choices have the smallest ecological footprint. Concern for social equity and sustainability requires rethinking the street geographically and ethically, and asking: “In what sense is the street a space of justice (or injustice)? How do traditional street regulation and design manifest ethical priorities? And what might a more just street look like, in theory and practice?” Such questions prompt one to engage both the spatial and moral, thus drawing from critical geography and ethics (including religion) to analyze roadways in terms of fairness and relational wholeness, and argue for what might be called a shalom street. Engaging such ethical concepts with the technical vocabularies of street regulation and design requires analyzing how national model standards and their interpretation (in the case study state of Ohio) enforce and materialize justice (or injustice) on the street.The promise of more just alternatives such as more sustainable and fair “Complete Streets” to live in needs to be explored.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Holmes Rolston, III, Rediscovering and Rethinking Leopold’s Green Fire
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Aldo Leopold shot a wolf a hundred years ago, the most iconic wolf kill in conservation history, a shooting now historically confirmed, which three decades later he elevated into his “green fire” metaphor and symbol. There are tensions. Was Leopold a hypocrite? He spent the rest of his life hunting and trying to produce more game to kill. Thinking like a mountain, thinking big in the big outdoors, there is a dramatic shift of focus from a dying wolf’s eyes to a land ethic. Thinking big enough, globally, Leopold saving wolves, or wilderness, or game management seems simplistic and parochial before global warming or environmental justice. Still, Leopold is on a moral frontier.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Foreman, The Object of Respect
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Although it is widely held that we do not owe basic respect to nonhuman animals, a close examination of why we owe this respect to human beings leads to the conclusion that we owe it to nonhuman animals as well. While Kant’s basic notion of respect for persons is intuitively plausible, Kant’s two arguments for why respect is owed to human beings ultimately fail, and a reconsideration of which feature of human beings actually grounds the respect that humans are owed is called for. Ultimately, it is not the robust rational autonomy that Kant suggests, but rather the basic subjectivity that underlies it (being the subject-of-a-life). Since this subjectivity is shared by nonhuman animals, they are owed respect as well.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Nathan Kowalsky, Randolph Haluza-DeLay, “This is Oil Country”: The Tar Sands and Jacques Ellul’s Theory of Technology
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The Alberta tar sands, and the proposed pipelines which would carry their bitumen to international markets, comprise one of the most visible environmental controversies of the early twenty-first century. Jacques Ellul’s theory of technology presents ostensibly physical phenomena, such as the tar sands, as social phenomena wherein all values are subsumed under the efficient mastery of nature. The effect of technological rationality is totalizing because technical means establish themselves as the exclusive facts of the matter, which creates a socio-political environment wherein ethical engagement is precluded. Analyzing the tar sands controversy through Ellul’s hermeneutic challenges environmental ethics to a more radical stance than the continuation of the technological worldview, and thus offers meaningful and hopeful alternatives to the status quo.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Ermine L. Algaier IV, The Natural World: Naess, Doμgen, and the Question of Limits
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Juxtaposing the ecological insights of Arne Naess and Eihei Dōgen, Deane Curtin maintains that Dōgen’s metaphysical conception of sentience subsumes and corrects Naess’s ecologi­cal Self and its problem of limits. However, an alternative reading of Dōgen, one which deemphasizes the ontological status of the natural world in favor of how we epistemically view it, revitalizes Naess’s question of limits and enables us to reappropriate the problem as our problem. This line of thinking forces us to rethink how we relate to the natural world.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Mark A. Michael, Hugh P. McDonald, ed. Pragmatism and Environmentalism
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
John Nolt, Sustainability by Leslie Paul Thiele
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Jerome A. Stone, Leavings: Poems by Wendell Berry
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