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21. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Robert C. Oelhaf Environmental Ethics: Atomistic Abstraction or Holistic Affection?
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For conventional economics things have value only to the degree that they give pleasure to individual human beings. In response to continuing environmental deterioration several alternatives have been offered for valuing resources and allocating them between generations. Most of these approaches are highly abstract. The deterioration of the Earth and the mistreatment of its inhabitants will not be stemmed by abstractions. Neither will abstract ideas direct us to the best use of our resources. We need to foster personal relationships between human beings and particular portions of the Earth.
22. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Peter Heinegg Ecology and Social Justice: Ethical Dilemmas and Revolutionary Hopes
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The destructive tension between human needs and environmental conservation arises from flaws in our political and economic structures. Oppression of people and devastation of nature go hand in hand, and the root of both these evils is the denial of otherness. The ecology movement is basically a movement of liberation, and is in league, de jure and de facto, with other liberation movements, since it seeks to promote the rights ofthe nonhuman world. In this context, subjugation of the Other is immoral in all forms and ultimately suicidal. Recognition of the value of nonhuman nature doesn’t preclude a rational use of it, but requires something analogous to the primitive custom of apologizing to the spirits of prey, i.e., a mixture of religious respect and common sense. Awareness of the beauty and power of nature, like awareness ofthe injured rights of our fellow humans, creates a revolutionary moral imperative to change the life of our society.
23. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Roland C. Clement Watson’s Reciprocity of Rights and Duties
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Richard A. Watson’s proposal that rights inhere only in those who can perform duties is here objected to as being too intellectualistic. Instead, it is suggested that rights inhere in all those who participate in the process of becoming, as A. N. Whitehead proposed half a century ago. Ecological science lends new support to this view.
24. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Christopher Manes Philosophy and the Environmental Task
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Although the particular ethical consequenees of biocentrism can be defended at a logical level, the centrality of problems with valuational frameworks in biocentric ethics leads to ontologieal ambiguities which contribute to the broader problematic of modem metaphysics. I suggest, however, that this may actually help to thematize the relationship between the metaphysieal foundations of environmentalism and its social task. Mysticism and phenomenology, including the concept of the “ecological self,” attempt to settle these ambiguities in a dialectical opposition to the technological world view behind the environmental crisis. Whatever ontological stability they achieve, however, is at the expense of being assimilated by the same kind of metaphysical totalization characterizing technological thinking. Unlike anthropocentrism and the stewardship model of environmentalism, nevertheless, these difficulties for biocentrism lead to positive results: the ambiguities in the search for philosophic stability and foundational certainty can act as a cue to the nonmetaphysical task of analyzing and resisting technological power. The result may be a “negative ethics,” but one that holds out the possibility of confronting the real power relations of technological culture (and the use of ethics within them), rather than pursuing the endless projeet of discovering the hidden source of value and meaning.
25. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Mark Sagoff Some Problems with Environmental Economics
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In this essay I criticize the contigent valuation method in resource economics and the concepts of utility and efficiency upon which it is based. I consider an example of this method and argue that it cannot-as it pretends-substitute for public education and political deliberation.
26. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michael E. Zimmerman Quantum Theory, Intrinsic Value, and Panentheism
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J. Baird Callicott seeks to resolve the problem of the intrinsic value of nature by utilizing a nondualistic paradigm derived from quantum theory. His approach is twofold. According to his less radical approach, quantum theory shows that properties once considered to be “primary” and “objective” are in fact the products of interactions between observer and observed. Values are also the products of such interactions. According to his more radical approach, quantum theory’s doctrine of internal relations is the model for the idea that everything is intrinsically valuable because the “I” is intrinsically valuable and related to everything else. I argue that humanity’s treatment of nature will become respectful only as humanity’s awareness evolves toward nondualism, and that such nondualistic awareness will not be produced by changes in scientific theory alone. Nevertheless, as Callicott suggests, such changes may be harbingers of evolutionary trends in human awareness. I conclude with a sketch of how nondualism, especially in its panentheistic version, provides the basis for environmental ethics.
27. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Susan Power Bratton The Original Desert Solitaire: Early Christian Monasticism and Wilderness
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Roderick Nash’s conc1usion in Wilderness and the American Mind that St. Francis “stood alone in a posture of humility and respect before the natural world” is not supported by thorough analysis of monastic literature. Rather St. Francis stands at the end of a thousand-year monastic tradition. Investigation of the “histories” and sayings of the desert fathers produces frequent references to the environment, particularly to wildlife. In stories about lions, wolves, antelopes, and other animals, the monks sometimes exercise spiritual powers over the animals, but frequently the relationship is reciprocal: the monks provide for the animals and the animals provide for the monks. This literature personifies wild animals and portrays them as possessing Christian virtues. The desert monk is portrayed as the “new Adam” living at peace with creation. Some of the literature is anti-urban, with the city treated as a place of sin, the desert a place of purification. The wildemess functions much as a monk’s cell, providing freedom from worldly concems and a solitary place for prayer and contemplation. The monks’ relationship to the desert is evidence of their spiritual progress.
28. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
David Abram Merleau-Ponty and the Voice of the Earth
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Ecologists and environmental theorists have paid little attention to our direct, sensory experience of the enveloping world. In this paper I discuss the importance of such experience for ecological philosophy. Merleau-Ponty’s careful phenomenology of perceptual experience shows perception to be an inherently creative, participatory activity-a sort of conversation, carried on underneath our spoken discourse, between the living body and its world. His later work discloses the character of language itself as a medium born of the body’s participation with a world experienced as alive. That living world is none other than the Earth.
29. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Patrick D. Murphy Sex-Typing the Planet
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The ecology movement has recently attempted to reinvigorate the image of Earth in terms of Lovelock and Epton’s “Gaia hypothesis.” I analyze the shortcomings of using Gaia imagery in the works of Lovelock, deep ecologists, feminists, and ecological poets, and conclude that while the hypothesis serves to alter consciousness, naming it Gaia reinforces the oppressive hierarchical patterns of patriarchal gender stereotypes that it opposes. We are moving toward a new paradigm of nonpatriarchal pluralistic co-evolution, but if deep ecology is going to promote fully its development, it needs to recast or cast aside Gaia imagery.
30. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Christopher D. Stone Moral Pluralism and the Course of Environmental Ethics
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Environmental ethics has reached a certain level of maturity; further significant advances require reexamining its status within the larger realm of moral philosophy. It could aim to extend to nonhumans one of the familiar sets of principles subject to appropriate modifications; or it could seek to break away and put forward its own paradigm or paradigms. Selecting the proper course requires as the most immediate mission exploring the formal requirements of an ethical system. In general, are there constraints against bringing our moral relations with different sorts of things under different mIes of govemance? In particular, how much independence can an environmental ethic (or ethics) aim to have?