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Environmental Ethics

Volume 39, Issue 3, Fall 2017

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news and notes
1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Piers H. G. Stephens, Chris J. Cuomo Tribute for Professor Victoria Davion
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Cajetan Iheka Pope Francis’ Integral Ecology and Environmentalism for the Poor
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The anthropocentrism of Pope Francis’ integral ecology in Laudato Si’ serves two strategic functions. First, it allows the pope to foreground the concerns of humans vulnerable to the ravages of ecological devastation, especially in the Global South. More importantly, privileging human beings justifies the responsibility Pope Francis places on us to engage in more sustainable relationships with one another and the environment. The encyclical’s investment in an ethics of care and the heterogeneity of its citational practice enhances its cosmopolitan appeal to audiences across religious affiliations and those with secular leanings.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Oscar Horta Animal Suffering in Nature: The Case for Intervention
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Many people think we should refrain from intervening in nature as much as possible. One of the main reasons for thinking this way is that the existence of nature is a net positive. However, population dynamics teaches us that most sentient animals who come into existence in nature die shortly thereafter, mostly in painful ways (due to starvation, predation, and other reasons). Those who survive often suffer greatly due to natural causes. If sentient beings matter, this gives us reasons to intervene to prevent such harms. This counterintuitive conclusion can be opposed by arguing (1) that we should not care about nonhuman animals; (2) that other values, such as the existence of certain ecosystemic relations or of untouched wild areas, count for more than the interests of sentient beings; or (3) that intervention in nature cannot succeed. There are, however, strong reasons to reject these claims and to support significant intervention in nature for the sake of animals, despite our deep-rooted intuitions to the contrary.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Henry Dicks A New Way of Valuing Nature: Articulating Biomimicry and Ecosystem Services
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According to the renowned biomimicry specialist, Janine Benyus, biomimicry offers a new way of valuing nature based on the principle of learning from nature. Comparing and contrast­ing this new way of valuing nature with the dominant conception of nature as valuable for the ecosystem services it provides, an articulation of the respective theoretical frameworks of ecosystem services and biomimicry can be proposed. This articulation depends on the insight that each of the four basic categories of ecosystem service identified in the Millen­nium Ecosystem Assessment (supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services) correlates with a principle of biomimicry (nature as physis, model, measure, and mentor)—an insight that makes it possible to add a whole new layer of complexity to ecosystem service theory (EST) such that it henceforth covers not just what nature does for us, but also what nature may teach us how to do. This articulation of the theoretical frameworks of ecosystem services and biomimicry implies a significant bifurcation of the general normative orientation of EST such that it is no longer oriented primarily or exclusively toward conserving nature, but also toward imitating and following nature.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Roy H. May, Jr. Pachasophy: Landscape Ethics in the Central Andes Mountains of South America
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Andean philosophy of nature or pachasophy results from topography and mode of production that, merged together, have produced an integrated and interacting worldview that blurs the line between culture and nature. Respecting Pacha, or the interconnectedness of life and geography, maintaining complementarity and equilibrium through symbolic interactions, and caring for Pachamama, the feminine presence of Pacha manifested mainly as cultivable soil are the basis of Andean environmental and social ethics. Reciprocity or ayni is the glue that holds everything together. This weaving of traditional beliefs, customs, and ecologi­cal knowledge is rooted in the landscape and has sustained Quechua and Aymara societies during many millennia of knowing, using, and transforming the varied environments of the central Andes of South America. Any environmental ethics that influences people’s lives and promotes respectful and sustainable relationships with nature will be framed by already held worldviews. In Bolivia indigenous intellectuals are drawing on the ancient tradition of Pacha to trace an environmental ethics of pacha qamaña or the harmonious and integral well-being of life, the Earth, and the cosmos, and the ethics of suma qamaña as an all em­bracing ethical framework for the “good life” or “living well.” Although pacha qamaña and suma qamaña are rooted in the Andean mythological worldview, they will interest Western philosophers because the values they promote can be correctives for Western cultural traits that see little more than instrumental value in nature. In this sense, pacha qamaña and suma qamaña contribute to the broader discussion of environmental ethics.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Kalpita Bhar Paul Beyond Technological Nihilism: Reinterpreting Heidegger in Environmental Philosophy
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The three most-referred to concepts of Heidegger in environmental philosophy—Ereig­nis, “let things be,” and Gelassenheit—need to be reinterpreted in the light of Thomas Sheehan’s interpretation of them. Environmental philosophy conceives of these concepts as his suggestive treatments for transcending technological nihilism. Following Sheehan, this reinterpretation reveals that these concepts instead of delineating a radical way out of the technological nihilism evokes the need to realize the presence of the intrinsic hidden clearing as the fundamental-limiting reality of human existence. Rather than considering this technological revelation as a singular determining factor and consequently, striving to realize the transcendental source of meaning for overcoming the nihilistic revelation of the environment as mere resources, environmental philosophy should identify the role of the hermeneutic structure of human existence in intricately shaping our relationship with the environment to discover a new ground for understanding this relationship and eventually, for crafting a new pragmatic form of environmental ethics.
book reviews
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Cheryl Abbate The Future of Meat without Animals
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
David R. Morrow Debating Climate Ethics
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 3
Susan Power Bratton How Many is Too Many?
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