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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Benjamin Six, Toward a Broadened Ethical Pluralism in Environmental Ethics: From Bryan Norton’s Discursive Ethics to William James’ Experiential Pluralism
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Recent work by Piers Stephens has established axiological pluralism as the common element between various strands of theorizing in environmental ethics. However, a tension still exists in contemporary theories between the need for practical convergence among the values through rational argumentation and the experience of the motivational power of the value orientations in living human experience. The pragmatist phenomenological foundation for a pluralist environmental ethics developed in the philosophy of William James is consistent with the contemporary theories, while potentially solving some of their tensions. In particular, the proposed approach of James adds a deeper layer of experiential values, which are not always considered in the public discursive practices and which often mobilize non‐scientific and not explicitly rational motivations and beliefs (including the environmental as well as the psychological, social, and cultural). In doing so, the phenomenological pragmatism of William James opens up an avenue for integrating experiential values into a broadened pluralist environmental ethics.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Lantz Fleming Miller, Individual Responsibility for Environmental Degradation: The Moral and Practical Route to Change
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In environmental ethics a debate has arisen over the extent to which the individual should make changes in personal lifestyle in a long-term program of ameliorating environmental degradation, as opposed to directing energies toward public-policy change. In opposition are the facts that an individual’s contribution to environmental degradation can only have a negligible effect. Public policy offers the only real hope for such massive coordinated effort, and environmental degradation is only one of many global problems to which ethi­cally oriented people must focus their attentions and energies. So far, the pro-personal responsibility side has urged that personal lifestyle changes are necessary for moral coher­ence, thus in turn for integrity of character, and lifestyle changes can affect others in a kind of chain reaction because humans are socially submerged beings. The stalemate here can only stymies the needed coordinated effort toward ameliorating environmental degradation. Further, moral concerns need to be brought into this issue; namely, the ramifications of pursuing a policy-only approach, emphasizing policy as the sole (or even primary) means of ameliorating environmental degradation, implicitly undercuts the role of individual agents in morality in general, in terms of (1) individual responsibility, (2) autonomy, and (3) creativity in solving problems. All these problems not only bear on the program to reverse environmental degradation, but undermine other widely held moral values. Emphasizing personal lifestyle responsibility is not only the most moral alternative but is also the most assured way to affect long-term changes and the better way to make policy changes credible and sufficiently substantive for change.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Lawrence E. Cahoone, Is Stellar Nucleosynthesis a Good Thing?
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Environmental ethicists typically find value in living things or their local environments: (1) anthropocentists insofar as they have value for human beings; (2) biocentrists in all organisms; and (3) ecocentrists in all ecosystems. But does the rest of nature have value? If so, is it merely as instrument or stage setting for life? A fanciful thought experiment focuses the point: is stellar nucleosynthesis a good thing? There are reasons to believe that it is intrinsically good, that even before life evolved, stellar nucleosynthesis was a good. If so, then the three views above are incomplete as accounts of natural value. It further implies that some non-biological criterion can serve as a rational standard of value: namely, complexity. The attempt to answer the question of the value of stellar nucleosynthesis leads to a clarification of the meaning of intrinsic value, which also has implications for more local questions of environmental values.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Vincent Blok, Thinking the Earth: Critical Reflections on Quentin Meillassoux’s and Heidegger’s Concept of the Earth
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Quentin Meillassoux’s call for realism is a call for a new interest in the Earth as un-correlated being in philosophy. Unlike Meillassoux, Martin Heidegger has not been criticized for being a correlationist. To the contrary, his concept of the Earth has to be understood as un-correlated being, as it is opposed to the world as correlated being. First, this interpreta­tion of Heidegger’s concept of the Earth solves various problems of interpretation that are present in the secondary literature. Second, Heidegger’s characterization of the Earth in the end remains unthought in his work. Third, in the age of global warming Meillassoux’s call for realism can help to conceive planet Earth as the ontic-ontological origin of the Heideggerian strife between Earth and world.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Brendan Mahoney, Engaging the Sublime without Distance: Environmental Ethics and Aesthetic Experience
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Over the past decade or two, a number of scholars have proposed that the aesthetic experi­ence of the sublime offers a ground on which to build an environmental ethic. Among these scholars, Emily Brady has offered the most sustained and comprehensive analysis of this topic. Her position is firmly grounded in Kant’s aesthetic theory. She (and others) conclude that the experience of the sublime provides a robust aesthetic basis for an environmental ethic; however, Kant’s aesthetic theory presents difficulties for this position insofar as he claims that the experience of the sublime reveals the superiority of humans (via our morality and faculty of reason) over nature. One source of Kant’s anthropocentrism is his concept of “safe distance.” However, drawing on Arnold Berleant’s theory of aesthetic engagement and Thoreau’s account of the sublime in “Ktaadn,” an engaged—or de-distanced—experience of the sublime offers a more solid foundation for an aesthetically grounded environmental ethic.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Neall Pogue, The Religious Right’s Compassionate Steward and Conservationist: The Lost Philosophies of Pat Robertson
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Current scholars use the anti-environmental rhetoric of Pat Robertson to argue that the politically important religious right movement, which he co-founded and led, has always ignored and/or opposed nature protection efforts. During the movement’s initial years, from the late 1970s to 1989, however, Robertson encouraged eco-friendly philosophies best described as conservation and Christian compassionate stewardship. He publically endorsed these views through publishing, speaking out at politically charged venues, and by ignoring religious right political allies who favored economic growth over environmental protection. During this early period, Robertson was not an anti-environmentalist but instead promoted thoughtful and nuanced eco-friendly philosophies. Furthermore, it is likely that the larger religious right community shared these views. This examination of Robertson’s eco-friendly positions lays a foundation for future scholarship on the religious right’s relationship with environmentalism.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Steven Fesmire, Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change: A Guide to Environmental Decision Making
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Bernard Daley Zaleha, Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 4
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, Thinking like a Mall: Environmental Philosophy after the End of Nature
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