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news and notes
1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
NEWS AND NOTES
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Susan P. Bratton Loving Nature: Eros or Agape?
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Christian ethics are usually based on a theology of love. In the case of Christian relationships to nature, Christian environmental writers have either suggested eros as a primary source for Christian love, without dealing with traditional Christian arguments against eros, or have assumed agape (spiritual love or sacrificial love) is the appropriate mode, without defining how agape should function in human relationships with the nonhuman portion of the universe. I demonstrate that God’s love for nature has the same form and characteristics as God’s love for human beings, and that because agape is self-giving, it is preferable to eros in relationships with the environment. Agape concerning nature (I) is spontaneous and unmotivated, (2) is indifferent to value, (3) creates value, (4) initiates relationships with the divine, (5) recognizes individuality, (6) provides freedom, and (7) produces action and suffering. Agape might best be defined, not as Platonic ascent above the world, but as completely self-giving engagement with the world. Human love for nature is often limited by a human inability to accept love, including divine love, from nature. Flowing from God, agape cannot require reciprocity; yet agape understands what “the other has to give and can offer it complete valuation. Agape is the ideal form of human interaction with nature, because agape does not require equal status or ability, or common goals or needs. Love between humans and members of the land (or sea) community can be sacrificial, and should be distinguished by a loss of self-regard and a willingness to suffer. Further philosophical and theological discussion of the role of reciprocity and sacrifice in love for nature is highly desirable.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth M. Harlow The Human Face of Nature: Environmental Values and the Limits of Nonanthropocentrism
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While some form of nonanthropocentrism is a defining feature of environmental ethics, there are at least four senses in which the value of nature might be said to be humanly independent, and these are often conflated. I argue that the strongest of these four (Roiston’s “autonomous intrinsic value”) may require classic ontological commitments which are no longer historically open to uso However, if we take seriously the language dependent view of nature suggested by post-Wittgensteinian epistemology, we find paradoxically that this kind of anthropocentrism can ground a genuine sense in which nature is valuable in its own right, yet as part of human good. In this context, Roiston’s distinction between “autonomous intrinsic value” and “anthropogenic intrinsic value” becomes a distinction without a difference.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Douglas E. Booth The Economics and Ethics of Old-Growth Forests
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An intense debate is currently underway in the Pacific Northwest over whether remnant old-growth forests should be preserved or harvested. Old-growth forests can be viewed (1) as objects used instrumentally to serve human welfare or (2) as entities that possess value in themselves and are thus worthy of moral consideration. I compare the instrumental view suggested by economic analysis with the biocentric and ecocentric alternatives and suggest a reconciliation of these approaches in the context of old-growth preservation.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Lloyd H. Steffen In Defense of Dominion
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The biblical notion of dominion has often been cited as the source and sanction for Western attitudes of environmental disregard. An analysis of the Genesis passage in which dominion (radah) is mentioned reveals a curious misreading of the text: dominion is actually an ideal of human-divine intimacy and peacefulness-as one ought to expect in a paradise creation story. I analyze Genesis dominion not only as areligious concept, but also as a philosophical notion manifesting the Hebrew self-understanding of its contemporary experience with the natural world. Being a verb, radah is also an action concept that connotes an ethic of environmental responsibility. Dominion authorizes a philosophical critique of Western attitudes and practices of environmental exploitation. I defend it here as an intentional expression of the Western religious consciousness that could, if it were understood as an ideal of responsible action rather than as an authorization for callous disregard of the natural world, actually promote interreligious dialogue on environmental issues.
book reviews
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Harold Fromm Environmentalism and the Future of Progressive Politics
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7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Holmes Rolston, III South African Environments into the 21st Century
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news and notes
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
NEWS AND NOTES
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book reviews
9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Gary E. Varner Overtapped Oasis: Reform or Revolution for Western Water
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comment
10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Richard A. Watson Misanthropy, Humanity, and the Eco-Warriors
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