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news and notes
1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
NEWS AND NOTES
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from the editor
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
After Twenty-Five Years
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features
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Eileen Crist Against the Social Construction of Nature and Wilderness
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The application of constructivism to “nature” and “wilderness” is intellectually and politically objectionable. Despite a proclivity for examining the social underpinnings of representations, constructivists do not deconstruct their own rhetoric and assumptions; nor do they consider what socio-historical conditions support their perspective. Constructivists employ skewed metaphors to describe knowledge production about nature as though the loaded language use of constructivism is straightforward and neutral. They also implicitly rely on a humanist perspective about knowledge creation that privileges the cognitive sovereignty of human subject over nature. Politically, the constructivist approach fails to take the scientific documentation of the biodiversity crisis seriously; it diverts attention toward discourses about the environmental predicament, rather than examining that predicament itself; and it indirectly cashes in on, and thus supports, human colonization of the Earth.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Anthony Weston Multicentrism: A Manifesto
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The familiar “centrisms” in environmental ethics aim to make ethics progressively more inclusive by expanding a single circle of moral consideration I propose a radically different kind of geometry. Multicentrism envisions a world of irreducibly diverse and multiple centers of being and value—not one single circle, of whatever size or growth rate, but many circles, partly overlapping, each with its own center. Moral consideration necessarily becomes plural and ongoing, and moral action takes place within an open-ended context of negotiation and covenant. Much critical and constructive work, both in environmental ethics proper and in many related fields, is already multicentric in spirit. It needs to be drawn together into an explicit, alternative environmental-ethical “platform.”
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
John Mizzoni St. Francis, Paul Taylor, and Franciscan Biocentrism
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The biocentric outlook on nature affirms our fellowship with other living creatures and portrays human beings as members of the Earth’s community who have equal moral standing with other living members of the community. A comparison of Paul Taylor’s biocentric theory of environmental ethics and the life and writings of St. Francis of Assisi reveals that Francis maintained a biocentric environmental ethic. This individualistc environmental ethic is grounded in biology and is unaffected by the paradigm shift in ecology in which nature is regarded as in flux rather than tending toward equilibrium. A holistic environmental ethic that accords moral standing to holistic entities (species, ecosytems, biotic communities) is more vulnerable to these changes in ecology than an environmental ethic that accords moral standing to individuals. Another strength of biocentrism is its potential to provide a unified front across religious and scientific lines.
discussion papers
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Cassandra Y. Johnson, J. M. Bowker African-American Wildland Memories
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Collective memory can be used conceptually to examine African-American perceptions of wildlands and black interaction with such places. The middle-American view of wildlands frames these terrains as refuges—pure and simple, sanctified places distinct from the profanity of human modification. However, wild, primitive areas do not exist in the minds of all Americans as uncomplicated or uncontaminated places. Three labor-related institutions—forest labor, plantation agriculture, and sharecropping—and terrorism and lynching have impacted negatively on black perceptions of wildlands, producing an ambivalence toward such places among African Americans.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Robert Kirkman Reasons to Dwell on (if Not Necessarily in) the Suburbs
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Environmental philosophers should look beyond stereotypes to consider American suburbs as an environment worthy of serious philosophical scrutiny for three reasons. First, for better or worse, the suburbs are the environment of primary concern to most Americans, and suburban patterns of development have caught on elsewhere in the industrialized world. Second, the suburbs are much more of a problem than many environmental theorists suppose, in part because suburban patterns of development are entrenched and difficult to change, and in part because they pose an important challenge to the very idea of an environmental ethic. Third, the search for sound policies and practices for metropolitan growth involves two crucial tasks for which philosophers may be particularly well suited: grappling with the ethical complexity of the suburbs, and fostering a robust and nuanced normative debate about the future of the built environment.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
David Rothenberg On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge, and the Environment
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Philip Cafaro Skeptical Environmentalism: The Limits of Philosophy and Science
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Deane Curtin Daoism and Ecology: Ways within a Cosmic Landscape
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