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101. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
J. Baird Callicott Rolston on Intrinsic Value: A Deconstruction
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Central to Holmes Rolston’s Environmental Ethics is the theoretical quest of most enviromnental philosophers for a defensible concept of intrinsic value for nonhuman natural entities and nature as a whole. Rolston’s theory is similar to Paul Taylor’s in rooting intrinsic value in conation, but dissimilar in assigning value bonuses to consciousness and self-consciousness and value dividends to organic wholes andelemental nature. I argue that such a theory of intrinsic value flies in the face of the subject/object and fact/value dichotomies of the metaphysical foundations of modem science—a problem Rolston never directly confronts. The modern scientific world view is obsolete. A post-modem scientific world view provides for a range of potential values in nature actualizable upon interaction with consciousness. The bestthat a modem scientific world view can provide are subject-generated—though not necessarily subject-centered—values in nature.
102. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Robert C. Fuller American Pragmatism Reconsidered: William James’ Ecological Ethic
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In this paper, I argue that pragmatism, at least in its formulation by William James, squarely addresses the metaethical and normative issues at the heart of our present crisis in moral justification. James gives ethics an empirical foundation that permits the natural and social sciences a clear role in defining our obligation to the wider environment. Importantly, James’ pragmatism also addresses the psychological and cultural factors that help elicit our willingness to adopt an ethical posture toward life.
103. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Lawrence E. Johnson Toward the Moral Considerability of Species and Ecosystems
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I develop the thesis that species and ecosystems are living entities with morally significant interests in their own right and defend it against leading objections. Contrary to certain claims, it is possible to individuate such entities sufficiently well. Indeed, there is a sense in which such entities define their own nature. I also consider and reject the argument that species and ecosystems cannot have interests or even traits in their own right because evolution does not proceed on that level. Although evolution proceeds on the level of the genotype, those selected are able to cooperate in entities of various higher orders—including species and ecosystems. Having their own nature and interests, species and ecosystems can meaningfully be said to have moral standing.
104. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
J. Douglas Rabb From Triangles to Tripods: Polycentrism in Environmental Ethics
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Callicott’s basic mistake in his much regretted paper ”Animal Liberation: A Triangular Affair” is to think of the anthropocentric, zoocentric, and biocentric perspectives as mutually exclusive alternatives. An environmental ethics requires, instead, a polycentric perspective that accommodates and does justice to all three positions in question. I explain the polycentric perspective in terms of an analogy derived from the pioneering work of Canadian philosopher Rupert C. Lodge and distinguish it from both pragmatism and moral pluralism.
105. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
C. A. Bowers The Conservative Misinterpretation of the Educational Ecological Crisis
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Conservative educational critics (e.g., Allan Bloom, Mortimer Adler, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr.) have succeeded in flaming the debate on the reform of education in a manner that ignores the questions that should be asked about how our most fundamental cultural assumptions are contributing to the ecological crisis. In this paper, I examine the deep cultural assumptions embedded in their reform proposals that furtherexacerbate the crisis, giving special attention to their view of rational empowerment, the progressive nature of change, and their anthropocentric view of the universe. I argue that their form of conservatism must be supplanted by the more biocentric conservatism of such thinkers as Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Gary Snyder.
106. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Roger Paden Nature and Morality
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In their attempt to develop a nonanthropocentric ethic, many biocentric philosophers have been content to argue for the expansion of the moral community to include natural entities. In doing so, they have implicitly accepted the idea that the conceptions of moral duties developed by anthropocentric philosophers to describe the moral relationships that hold between humans can be directly applied to thehuman/nature relationship. To make this expansion plausible, they have had to argue that natural entities have traits that are similar to the morally relevant traits of human beings, e.g., interests, the capacity to experience pleasure and pain, or “purpose.” Not only are these arguments often unconvincing, but it seems implausible that the same moral concepts and principles that govern human relationshipsalso should govern human/nonhuman relationships. Many nonanthropocentric ethics, I argue, are (mistakenly) anthropomorphic. They anthropomorphize nature and they anthropomorphize our relationship with nature. To go beyond this relationship I recommend the development of a nonanthropomorphic biocentric ethic. Such an ethic requires us to understand better what nature is and what role nature plays in moral experience and action. In such an ethic, I argue, nature is viewed as a transcendent “thing” with a transcendental moral significance.
107. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Robert W. Loftin Scientific Collecting
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Scientists often collect (kill) organisms in pursuit of human knowledge. When is such killing morally permissible? I explore this question with particular reference to ornithology and against the background of animal liberation ethics and a land ethic, especially Mary Anne Warren’s account that finds the two ethics complementary. I argue that the ethical theories offered provide insufficient guidance. As a step toward the resolution of this serious problem, I offer a set of criteria to determine when collecting is morally permissible.
108. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
John Martin Gillroy Public Policy and Environmental Risk: Political Theory, Human Agency, and the Imprisoned Rider
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In this essay, I argue that environmental risk is a strategic situation that places the individual citizen in the position of an imprisoned rider who is being exploited without his or her knowledge by the preferences of others. I contend that what is at stake in policy decisions regarding environmental risk is not numerical probabilities or consistent, complete, transitive preferences for individual welfare, but rather respect for the human agency of the individual. Human agency is a prerequisite to one’s utility function and is threatened and exploited in the strategic situation that produces the imprisoned rider. This problem is created by the policy maker’s assumption that his or her task is to assume rational preferences and aggregate them. The guidelines for evaluation and justification of policy should move beyondwelfare preferences and involve an active state protecting human agency and empowering the imprisoned rider. Only in this way can we free all citizens (a priori) from fear of exploitation by those who would impose collective and irreversible risk on each of them in violation of their unconditional right to their own agency.
109. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Eric Katz The Call of the Wild: The Struggle against Domination and the Technological Fix of Nature
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In this essay, I use encounters with the white-tailed deer of Fire Island to explore the “call of the wild”—the attraction to value that exists in a natural world outside of human control. Value exists in nature to the extent that it avoids modification by human technology. Technology “fixes” the natural world by improving it for human use or by restoring degraded ecosystems. Technology creates a “new world,” an artifactual reality that is far removed from the “wildness” of nature. The technological “fix” of nature thus raises a moral issue: how is an artifact morally different from a natural and wild entity? Artifacts are human instruments; their value lies in their ability to meet human needs. Natural entities have no intrinsic functions; they were not created for any instrumental purpose. To attempt to manage natural entities is to deny their inherent autonomy: a form of domination. The moral claim of the wilderness is thus a claim against human technological domination. We have an obligation to struggle against this domination by preserving as much of the natural world as possible.
110. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 3
Ariel Salleh The Ecofeminism/Deep Ecology Debate
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I discuss conceptual confusions shared by deep ecologists over such questions as gender, essentialism, normative dualism, and eco-centrism. I conclude that deep ecologists have failed to grasp both the epistemological challenge offered by ecofeminism and the practical labor involved in bringing about social change. While convergencies between deep ecology and ecofeminism promise to be fruitful, these are celebrated in false consciousness, unless remedial work is done
111. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Peter Quigley Rethinking Resistance: Environmentalism, Literature, and Poststructural Theory
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I argue that with the advent of poststructuralism, traditional theories of representation, truth, and resistance have been seriously brought into question. References to the “natural” and the “wild” cannot escape the poststructural attack against foundational concepts and the constituting character of human-centered language. I explore the ways in which environmental movements and literary expression have tended to posit pre-ideological essences, thereby replicating patterns of power and authority. I also point to how environmentalism might be reshaped in light of poststructuralism to challenge power without reference to authority.
112. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Ann S. Causey On Sport Hunting as an Instinct
113. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Robert Frodeman Radical Environmentalism and the Political Roots of Postmodernism
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I examine the close relationship between radical environmentalism and postmodernism. I argue that there is an incoherence within most postmodernist thought, born of an unwillingness or incapacity to distinguish between claims true from an ontological or epistemological perspective and those appropriate to the exigencies of political life. The failure to distinguish which differences make a difference not only vitiates postmodernist thought, but also runs up against some of the fundamental assumptions of radical environmentalism.
114. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
David Johns On Watson’s Response to Foreman
115. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Anthony Weston Before Environmental Ethics
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Contemporary nonanthropocentic environmental ethics is profoundly shaped by the very anthropocentrism that it tries to transcend. New values only slowly struggle free of old contexts. Recognizing this struggle, however, opens a space for—indeed, necessitates—alternative models for contemporary environmental ethics. Rather than trying to unify or fine-tune our theories, we require more pluralistic andexploratory methods. We cannot reach theoretical finality; we can only co-evolve an ethic with transformed practices.
116. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Luís S. Barreto On Sayre’s Alternative View of Environmental Ethics
117. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Christine J. Cuomo Unravelling the Problems in Ecofeminism
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Karen Warren has argued that environmental ethics must be feminist and that feminist ethics must be ecological. Hence, she endorses ecofeminism as an environmental ethic with power and promise. Recent ecofeminist theory, however, is not as powerful as one might hope. In fact, I argue, much of this theory is based on values that are potentially damaging to moral agents, and that are not in accord withfeminist goals. My intent is not to dismantle ecofeminism, but to analyze and clarify some of the philosophical problems with recent ecofeminist work and to point out a more promising direction for ecofeminist ethics.
118. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Christopher Manes Nature and Silence
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A viable environmental ethics must confront “the silence of nature”—the fact that in our culture only humans have status as speaking subjects. Deep ecology has attempted to do so by challenging the idiom of humanism that has silenced the natural world. This approach has been criticized by those who wish to rescue the discourse of reason in environmental ethics. I give a genealogy of nature’s silence to show how various motifs of medieval and Renaissance origins have worked together historically to create the fiction of “Man,” a character portrayed as sole subject, speaker, and telos of the world. I conclude that the discourse of reason, as a guide to social practice, is implicated in this fiction and, therefore, cannot break the silence of nature. Instead, environmental ethics must learn a language that leaps away from the motifs of humanism, perhaps by drawing on the discourse of ontological humility found in primal cultures, postmodern philosophy, and medieval contemplative tradition.
119. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Mick Smith Cheney and the Myth of Postmodernism
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I draw critical parallels between Jim Cheney’s work and various aspects of modernism, which he ignores or misrepresents. I argue, first, that Cheney’s history of ideas is appallingly crude. He amalgamates all past Western philosophical traditions, irrespective of their disparate backgrounds and complex interrelationships, under the single heading, modern. Then he posits a radical epistemological break between a deluded modernism—characterized as foundationalist, essentialist, colonizing, and totalizing—and a contextual postmodernism. He seems unaware both of the complex genealogy of postmodernism and of those aspects of modern traditions that prefigure his own thesis. Second, Cheney’s account of primitive peoples is both ethnocentric (though positively so) and inaccurate. Third, Cheneyreduces context or place to a concept of bioregionality. In this way, he reinstates a privileged foundationalism which, by his own definitions, makes his philosophy modernist. I develop these criticisms in order to suggest a less restricted contextual approach to environmental values.
120. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Peter S. Wenz Minimal, Moderate, and Extreme Moral Pluralism
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Concentrating on the views of Christopher Stone, who advocates moral pluralism, and J. Baird Callicott, who criticizes Stone’s views, I argue that the debate has been confused by a conflation of three different positions, here called minimal, moderate, and extreme moral pluralism. Minimal pluralism is uncontroversial because all known moral theories are minimally pluralistic. Extreme pluralism is defective in the ways that Callicott alleges and, moreover, is inconsistent with integrity in the moral life. However, moderate pluralism of the sort that I advance in Environmental Justice is distinct from extreme pluralism and free of its defects. It is also consistent with Callicott’s version of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, which is itself moderately pluralistic.