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features
1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Daniel C. Fouke Blameworthy Environmental Beliefs
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Thomas Hill, Jr. has famously argued that what really bothers us about environmental deg­radation is best discovered by asking “What kind of person would do such a thing?” Beliefs, some of which are blameworthy, are among the things that define what kind of person one is. What we care about is reflected in whether one’s epistemic practices align with one’s core moral convictions and common standards of decency. Our moral sensitivities are reflected in what we attend to and reflect upon. What we do not notice can be a result of culpable indifference or self-deception. Environmental beliefs formed with negligent disregard for the risks they create for others are reflections of a vicious moral character. Beliefs of citizens have consequences. They determine what politicians will respond to and what policies they will introduce. Ideological commitments have been shown to influence what one takes to be the facts about risks. When the ethical dimensions of environmental beliefs and ignorance are unchallenged, society drifts morally. Emphasizing the relationship between commonly shared moral convictions (more basic than ideological commitments) and risky environmental beliefs and actions has more potential to create environmental awareness than the current focus on environmental science and the economic benefits of better environmental policies.
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Mark A. Michael The Problem with Methodological Pragmatism
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Methodological pragmatists argue that, given the dire state of the environment, the primary goal of environmentalists, including philosophers who work in environmental ethics, must be to work together to ensure that environmentally friendly policies are put into place. They must set aside their differences and not argue over their competing theoretical justifications of environmental policies, as that contributes to divisiveness among environmentalists and prevents this cooperation from occurring. The proposal to ignore disagreements over theory gets cashed out in three distinct ways, however, and consequently one can identify three distinct versions of methodological pragmatism. Radical methodological pragmatists propose that environmentalists give up on the task of providing well-founded theoretical justifications for environmentally friendly policies and stop engaging in debates over these justifications; rather, they should focus on providing reasons for these policies that connect with whatever values people already have. Moderate methodological pragmatists propose that although there is nothing problematic in offering theoretical justifications in contexts where environmental philosophers disagree on what policy should be adopted, they should work together and put aside their theoretical differences where policy recommendations coincide. Finally, weak methodological pragmatists hold only that environmental philosophers should work together where their policies coincide and there are no additional practical or moral considerations that might be relevant to their ability to work together. The first two positions involve interesting claims, but they are fundamentally flawed. On the other hand, the third is unobjectionable but largely trivial. Thus, there is no reason to think that method­ological pragmatism can contribute to the resolution of problems in environmental ethics.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
A. Dionys de Leeuw Can Nature Conservation Justify Sports Fishing?
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Anglers frequently justify their sport on the basis of nature conservation. According to this utilitarian equation, harming fish by angling is balanced by conservation of nature. To qualify as justification for angling, nature conservation must arise from and be connected to angling, a connection achieved by sport fisheries management. Management practices are, therefore, evaluated to determine if, on the whole, these practices are beneficial to nature and, if these benefits “outweigh” harms caused to nature by management and to fish by angling. Although not conclusive, according to this analysis, harms caused to nature by both sport fisheries management and to fish by angling “outweigh” angling related benefits to nature. Consequently, the justification of angling on the basis of nature conservation is dubious at best.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Daniel Crescenzo The Problem of Predator-Prey Relations and Predator Flourishing in Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach to Justice
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According to Martha Nussbaum, treating animals justly is a matter of guaranteeing each individual those capabilities up to a minimum threshold that are essential for flourishing as a member of a particular species. Nussbaum’s basic theoretical framework is acceptable; however, a capability which Nussbaum thinks is not essential for the flourishing, the oppor­tunity to kill as a part of exercising predatory instinct, may in fact be essential for predator flourishing. Nussbaum ought to be concerned with the possibility that this capability is essential, since if it is, it is likely that in doing less harm than good we will also be treating some predators unjustly by denying them the opportunity to flourish.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Matt Stichter Justifying Animal Use in Education
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Is the use of animals in undergraduate education ethically justifiable? One way to answer this question is to focus on the factors relevant to those who serve on Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). An analysis of the debate surrounding the practice of dissection at the undergraduate level helps shed light on these issues. Settling that debate hinges on claims about the kind of knowledge gained from dissection and other “hands-on” kinds of experiences, and whether such knowledge is needed to meet educational goals. Most undergraduate courses will probably lack a sufficient justification for the use of animals for dissection, since the educational goals can be met with non-animal alternatives. In addition, there are some general guidelines that can be extrapolated from this debate, which should be of assistance in deciding whether a sufficient justification has been given for animal use. One guideline is that justifications for animal use should require demonstrating that the use adds value to the educational experience in a way that is directly tied to the course objectives. Furthermore, the use of animals should not be simply built into the objectives of a course in such a way that the use is merely assumed, with no actual justification provided. One must beware of putative standards for justification that would fail to rule out any possible animal use.
book reviews
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Kimberly Smith Kimberly N. Ruffin: Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions
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7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Michael P. Nelson, Adam M. Sowards Linda Sargent Wood: A More Perfect Union: Holistic Worldviews and the Transformation of American Culture after World War II
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Frank W. Derringh Andrew Brennan and Y. S. Lo: Understanding Environmental Philosophy
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 34 > Issue: 2
Costas Panayotakis David T. Schwartz: Consuming Choices: Ethics in a Global Consumer Age
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