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news and notes
1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
NEWS AND NOTES
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Mick Smith Against the Enclosure of the Ethical Commons: Radical Environmentalism as an “Ethics of Place”
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Inspired by recent anti-roads protests in Britain, I attempt to articulate a radical environmental ethos and, at the same time, to produce a cogent moral analysis of the dialectic between environmental destruction and protection. In this analysis, voiced in terms of a spatial metaphoric, an “ethics of place,” I seek to subvert the hegemony of modernity’s formal systematization and codification of values whilestill conserving something of modernity’s critical heritage: to reconstitute ethics in order to counter the current enclosure of the moral field within economistic and legal bureaucratic frameworks and institutions.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Eilon Schwartz Bal Taschit: A Jewish Environmental Precept
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The talmudic law bal tashchit (”do not destroy”) is the predominant Jewish precept cited in contemporary Jewish writings on the environment. I provide an extensive survey of the roots and differing interpretations of the precept from within the tradition. The precept of bal tashchit has its roots in the biblical command not to destroy fruit-bearing trees while laying siege to a warring city. The rabbis expandthis injunction into the general precept of bal tashchit, a ban on any wanton destruction. Such a precept was interpreted in differing ways, along a continuum whose poles I describe as the minimalist and maximalist positions. In the minimalist position, interpreters limit the application of bal tashchit to only those situations in which natural resources and property are no longer viewed as having any economic or aesthetic worth. In the maximalist position, interpreters expand the application of bal tashchit to any situation in which nature and property are being destroyed for something other than basic human needs. Finally, I compare and contrast the substance and style of the discussion of bal tashchit from within the Jewish tradition with the contemporary discussion of environmental ethics.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Robert Kirkman Why Ecology Cannot Be All Things to All People: The “Adaptive Radiation” of Scientific Concepts
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On the basis of a model of the development of scientific concepts as analogous to the “adaptive radiation” of organisms, I raise questions concerning the speculative project of many environmental philosophers, especially insofar as that project reflects on the relationship between ecology (the science) and ecologism (the worldview or ideology). This relationship is often understood in terms of anopposition to the “modern” worldview, which leads to the identification of ecology as an ally or as a foe of environmental philosophy even as ecological concepts are freely appropriated to inform speculation. I argue that ecology does not fit into the intellectual framework of such an opposition and that its concepts cannot readily be made to serve purposes outside of their specialized context without a loss of meaning. Finally, I suggest that environmental thought might do well to divest itself of its ecologistic commitments, adopting instead a skeptical approach to human-environment relations.
discussion papers
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Paul Veatch Moriarty, Mark Woods Hunting ≠ Predation
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Holmes Rolston has defended certain forms of hunting and meat eating when these activities are seen as natural participation in the food chains in which we evolved. Ned Hettinger has suggested that some of Rolston’s principles that govern our interactions with plants and animals might appear to be inconsistent with Rolston’s defense of these activities. Hettinger attempts to show that they are not. We argue that Rolston’s principles are not consistent with hunting, given Hettinger’s modifications. In his defense of Rolston, Hettinger has challenged animal welfare ethicists to show that they can value animal predation while consistently condemning human hunting. We answer that hunting and meat eating by humans are “cultural” rather than “natural” activities.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Charles J. List Is Hunting a Right Thing?
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I argue that sport hunting is a right thing according to Leopold’s land ethic. First, I argue that what Leopold means by a “thing” (“A thing is right . . .”) is not a human action, as is generally assumed, but rather a practice of conservation that is an activity connecting humans to the land. Such an “outdoor” activity emphasizes internal rewards and the achievement of excellence according to standards which at least partially define the activity. To say that hunting is a right thing is to say that the practice of sport hunting tends in the direction of the land ethic. The actions of individual hunters are judged to be ethical or not by the standards of the practice; these standards are in turn evaluated by the precepts of the land ethic. Second, I discuss how the practical standards are evaluated. I argue that the concepts of integrity, stability, and beauty, contrary to some interpretations, are not inherent values of the biotic community, but rather labels carefully chosen by Leopold as three conduits for the ecological conscience necessary for the land ethic: the ethical, the ecological, and the aesthetic. I show that Leopold uses this model for his own evaluation of the practice of hunting as well as his evaluation of other practices of conservation. Thus, to ask about whether sport hunting is a right thing is to ask about the historical evolution of the standards of this practice and, of equal importance, about the future direction of these standards with regard to the land ethic.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
K. L. F. Houle Spinoza and Ecology Revisted
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Spinoza has been appropriated as a philosophical forefather of deep ecology. I identify what I take to be the relevant components of Spinoza’s metaphysics, which, at face value, appear to be harmonious with deep ecology’s commitments. However, there are central aspects of his moral philosophy which do not appear to be “environmentally friendly,” in particular the sentiments expressed in the Ethics IV35C1 and IV37S1. I describe environmental ethics’ treatment of these passages and then indicate what I take to be a more satisfactory route toward “ecologizing Spinoza.”
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Thomas Heyd Earth Summit Ethics
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
Steven J. Bissell A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History
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index
10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 19 > Issue: 4
INDEX 1997
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