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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
NEWS AND NOTES (1)
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Kenneth Sayre An Alternative View of Environmental Ethics
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Environmental ethics continues to be dominated by an in/erential view of ethical theory, according to which moral prescriptions and proscriptions are deduced from general principles, which in turn are arrived at intuitively or by some form of induction. I argue that the inferential approach contributes litde to the pressing need which environmental philosophers have been attempting to address in recent decades-the need for a set of normative values actually in place within industrial society that will help preserve the environment from human destruction. I propose an alternative view according to which the aim of environmental ethics is (1) a clear understanding of how moral norms actually come to be instituted in a given society, (2) the analysis of the practical effect of such norms from an environmental perspective, and (3) an examination of the relative desirability of alternative norms in light of their environmental effects. In pursuing this aim, environmental ethics should join forces with anthropology, economics, and other areas of social science in hopes of generatirtg a basis for empirical information about how moral norms actually operate. Such information might help persuade society at large of the importance of being guided by an environmentally sound set of normative values.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
NEWS AND NOTES (2)
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4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
John N. Martin Order Theoretic Properties of Holistic Ethical Theories
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Using concepts from abstract algebra and type theory, I analyze the structural presuppositions of any holistic ethical theory. This study is motivated by such recent holistic theories in environmental ethics as Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, James E. Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, Arne Naess’ deep ecology, and various aesthetic ethics of the sublime. I also discuss the holistic and type theoretic assumptions of suchstandard ethical theories as hedonism, natural rights theory, utilitarianism, Rawls’ difference principle, and fascism. I argue that although there are several common senses of part-whole in ethical theory, the central sense of holism in ethics is that of a theory that defines its key moral idea as an emergent group property grounded in the relational properties of its individual constituents. Hedonism and Kantianism do not count as holistic in this sense. Natural rights theory does in adegenerate way. Utilitarianism and various environmental ethics are paradigm examples. I point out as a general structural weakness of environmental holistic theories that their first-order grounding in nonmoral vocabulary seems to preclude an explanation of many moral intuitions about human ethics.
discussion papers
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Bryan G. Norton Thoreau’s Insect Analogies: Or Why Environmentalists Hate Mainstream Economists
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Thoreau believed that we can learn how to live by observing nature, a view that appeals to modem environmentalists. This doctrine is exemplified in Thoreau’s use of insect analogies to illustrate how humans, like butterflies, can be transformed from the “larval” stage, which relates to the physical world through consumption, to a “perfect” state in which consumption is less important, and in which freedom and contemplation are the ends of life. This transformational idea rests upon a theory of dynamic dualism in which the animal and the spiritual self remain in tension, but in which the “maturity” of the individual-transcendence of economic demands as imposed by society-emerges through personal growth based on observation of nature. Thoreau’s dynamic theory of value, and its attractiveness to environmentalists, explains why environmentalists reject the mainstream, neoclassical economic paradigm. This paradigm accepts consumer preferences as “givens” and treats these preferences as thesource of all value in their model. Because Thoreau insists that there is value in transformations from one preference set to another, the neoclassical paradigm cannot capture this central value, and cannot account for the environmentalists’ emphasis on public “education” to reduce consunlptive demands of humans on their environment.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
NEWS AND NOTES (3)
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discussion papers
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Saroj Chawla Linguistic and Philosophical Roots of Our Environmental Crisis
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book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Jim Cheney Arne Naess: Ecology, Community and Lifestyle: Outline of an Ecosophy
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Max Oelschlaeger Elinor W. Gadon: The Once and Future Goddess: A Symbol of Our Time
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 13 > Issue: 3
Roderick Nash John Young: Sustaining the Earth
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