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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
News and Notes
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Paul Knights, David Littlewood, Dan Firth Eco-Minimalism as a Virtue
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Eco-minimalism is an emerging approach to building design, construction, and retrofitting. The approach is exemplified by the work of architect Howard Liddell and sustainable water management consultant Nick Grant. The fundamental tenet of this approach is an opposition to the use of inappropriate, unnecessary, and ostentatious eco-technology—or “eco-bling”—where the main emphasis is on being seen to be green. The adoption of the principles of the eco-minimalist approach offers, they argue, a significant opportunity to improve sustainability in construction. However, a critical examination of eco-minimalism as a design philosophy shows that eco-minimalism needs to be further developed within the framework of virtue ethics. The focus should be on two main themes: (1) incommensurabilities arising in relation to eco-minimalism’s goals of minimizing environmental impact and maximizing human benefit, which cannot be resolved from the principles Liddell and Grant have articulated, and (2) the practical importance of cultivating settled dispositions to act eco-minimally on the part of those who design, construct, and use buildings. A strong emphasis needs to be placed on the role of practical wisdom when navigating challenging decisions of the kind facing eco-minimalists in practice.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Paul Haught Environmental Virtues and Environmental Justice
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Environmental virtue ethics (EVE) can be applied to environmental justice. Environmental justice refers to the concern that many poor and nonwhite communities bear a disproportionate burden of risk of exposure to environmental hazards compared to white and/or economically higher-class communities. The most common applied ethical response to this concern—that is, to environmental injustice—is the call for an expanded application of human rights, such as requirements for clean air and water. The virtue-oriented approach can be made consistent with such calls, but there are broader applications as well that generate unique strategies for moral responsiveness and for expanding the role of moral philosophers in civic affairs.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Manuel Arias-Maldonado Let’s Make It Real: In Defense of a Realistic Constructivism
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The relationship between society and nature has an outstanding importance in the fields of environmental philosophy and sociology. It is dominated by the opposition between realism and constructivism, i.e., between those who argue that nature is an entity independent of society and those who respond that nature is a social construction. Such conflict is usually solved by accepting that nature exists, but our knowledge of it can only be socially mediated. However, a new version of constructivism can be defended, one which pays enough attention to the material dimension of society and nature’s interaction. Society has always intervened upon nature and the final outcome of such historical process has been the transformation of nature into human environment. A realistic constructivism allows us to highlight that decisive feature of socio-natural interaction.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Adam Riggio John Dewey as a Philosopher of Contingency and the Value of this Idea for Environmental Philosophy
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In recent years, scholars studying the writing of the American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey have attempted to use his ethical ideas to construct a viable environmental ethics. This endeavor has found limited success and generated some intriguing debates, but has been found wanting in many areas important to environmental ethicists of the twenty-first century. In particular, the humanist motivations behind many of his ethical writings stand in the way of a philosophy that takes nonhumans seriously. However, there is much environmental philosophers can learn from Dewey, not from his ethics, but from his ontological writings. A concept of the contingency of existence, found in Dewey, in particular in Experience and Nature, can be the foundation for a robust, if dark, ecological philosophy.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Bryan E. Bannon Re-Envisioning Nature: The Role of Aesthetics in Environmental Ethics
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The discussion of environmental aesthetics as it relates to ethics has primarily been concerned with how to harmonize aesthetic judgments of nature’s beauty with ecological judgments of nature’s health. This discussion brings to our attention the need for new perceptual norms for the experience of nature. Hence, focusing exclusively on the question of whether a work of “environmental art” is good or bad for the ecological health of a system occludes the important role such works can play in formulating new perceptual norms and metaphors for nature. To illustrate this point, the work of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy presents us with a different perception of time that is ethically useful.
book reviews
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Shane Ralston The Nature Study Movement
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Chris Nagel Ark of the Possible: The Animal World in Merleau-Ponty
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Referees 2011
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 33 > Issue: 4
Index to Volume 33
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