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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
News and Notes
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Lisa Kretz The Oppression of Nonhuman Life: An Analysis Using the Lens of Karen Warren’s Work
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Karen Warren’s work has helped to transform the landscape of environmental philosophy, contributing theoretical grounding for Western ecofeminism and opening the range of theoretical perspectives one can adopt when doing Western environmental ethics. Although her work is laudable, there are substantive worries about how potential subjects of oppression are characterized in her later work. Warren’s work and relevant secondary literature can be used as a foil to illuminate inadequate justification for the failure to include all living entities as potential subjects of the harm of oppression. The failure to provide conceptual room to include all entities that can rightfully be the potential subjects of oppression limits our understanding of oppression and the multiple ways in which it functions. Additionally, failure to attend to all potential subjects of oppression limits practical opportunities for anti-oppressive solidarity in political action. If oppression is correctly described as the harm of particular group members by others, and the class of living entities can be subjected to harm, then nonhuman living entities can potentially be subjects of oppression. The aim here is to provide conceptual support for the possibility that nonhuman life can be oppressed.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Tony Chackal Place, Community, and the Generation of Ecological Autonomy
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Autonomy is traditionally considered to be an epistemic capacity of individuals to think for themselves, and the community is held to be its central obstruction. Autonomy is the internal capacity to freely use reason to form beliefs and preferences that are one’s own. It is premised on the atomistic individual conceived as a decontextualized rational mind. Accordingly, natural, physical, and social externalities have not been included in discourse on autonomy. But if individuals are seen as embodied dwellers within social and natural environments and are reconceived as ecological, that is, partly constituted by their environments, then autonomy must likewise be reconceived. Ecological autonomy is an internal epistemic capacity to think and an external actional capacity to act for oneself in relation to other individuals and environments. Whereas traditional and even relational autonomy require that competency and authenticity conditions must be met for internal thinking, ecological autonomy requires two sets of competency and authenticity conditions, one for internal thought and one for external action. An ecological treatment holds that while community can obstruct autonomy, it also generates and sustains it to reveal how community and place are co-defined as mutually constitutive companion concepts with alternate emphases. Place emphasizes physical and social, and natural and artificial environments, but includes people and social practices. Community emphasizes people, social practices, knowledge, and values, but includes the environing world.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Brendan Cline Do Species Really Matter?: The Case of “The” Galápagos Giant Tortoise
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Many environmentalists hold that the loss of a species is intrinsically bad, and many also think that we have moral obligations to species as such. In an attempt to capture these thoughts, some philosophers have suggested that species are bearers of intrinsic value. This approach works well in paradigmatic cases. However, it begins to break down in more difficult scenarios, such as when species boundaries are unclear or when resources are scarce. The case study of the Galápagos giant tortoises in this essay illustrates the limitations of traditional accounts of the non-instrumental value of species. Careful attention to this case indicates how species-centric accounts diverge from the evaluative attitudes of environmentalists, and suggests new directions for theoretical replacements.
discussion papers
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Ryan Garrett A Cartesian Approach to Environmental Ethics
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The philosophy of René Descartes has been attacked by environmental ethicists for supposedly being pivotal in preventing the formulation of proper environmental concerns and attitudes. Yet, Descartes’ philosophy if read charitably is, in fact, effective in developing a proper environmental ethic. He believed God created two kinds of substances, mental and physical; humans are composed of a mental and physical substance, plants and animals of only a physical substance. He argued that humans, animals, and plants, despite their difference in substance, share the same status of creatures and interact with one another. Morally, Descartes argued that humans properly serving God receive theistic pleasure from promoting the welfare of their communities. Humans, animals, and plants exist in an ecological community with one another. Thus, Descartes’ philosophy naturally develops a theo-ecocentric environmental ethic as humans will receive theistic pleasure in promoting the welfare of ecological communities.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Lisa Gerber Aldo Leopold's “Great Possessions”
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In environmental ethics, the conception of possession is generally criticized, since land, plants, and animals should not be objectified, controlled, or owned. Yet, Aldo Leopold planned to title A Sand County Almanac “Great Possessions.” His title emphasized a point that Leopold thought important. In contrast to a sense of possession as domination, Leopold articulates a deeper, moral sense of possession in which the person claims and is claimed by others. For example, not only does Leopold claim his pines, his wife, and his chickadees, but he is also claimed by them. In this sense, possession is an act of love, care, and willingness to work on the behalf of others with passion and commitment. This sense of possession is worthy of our understanding and our emulation.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
J. Spencer Atkins Have You Benefitted from Carbon Emissions? You May Be a “Morally Objectionable Free Rider”
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Much of the climate ethics discussion centers on considerations of compensatory justice and historical accountability. However, little attention is given to supporting and defending the Beneficiary Pays Principle as a guide for policymaking. This principle states that those who have benefitted from an instance of harm have an obligation to compensate those who have been harmed. Thus, this principle implies that those benefitted by industrialization and carbon emission owe compensation to those who have been harmed by climate change. Beneficiary Pays is commonly juxtaposed with Polluter Pays Principle and the Ability to Pay Principle in the relevant literature. Beneficiary Pays withstands objections that raise suspicion for the latter two.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer Breena Holland: Allocating the Earth: A Distributional Framework for Protecting Environmental Capabilities in Environmental Law and Policy
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Aimée Koeplin J. Baird Callicott, John van Buren, and Keith W. Brown: Greek Natural Philosophy: The Presocratics and Their Importance for Environmental Philosophy
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 3
Per Sandin Angela Kallhoff, Marcello Di Paola, and Maria Schörgenhumer, eds.: Plant Ethics: Concepts and Applications
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