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41. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Freya Mathews Conservation and Self-Realization: A Deep Ecology Perspective
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Nature in its wider cosmic sense is not at risk from human exploitation and predation. To see life on Earth as but a local manifestation of this wider, indestructable and inexhaustible nature is to shield ourselves from despair over the fate of our Earth. But to take this wide view also appears to make interventionist political action on behalf of nature-which is to say, conservation-superfluous. If we identify with nature in its widest sense, as deep ecology prescribes, then the “self-defence” argument usually advanced by deep ecologists in support of conservation appears not to work. I argue that the need for eco-activism can be reconciled with a rejection of despair within the framework of deep ecology, and that in the process of this reconciliation the meaning of the term conservation acquires a new, spiritual dimension.
42. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Peter Reed Man Apart: An Alternative to the Self-Realization Approach
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Seeing nature as ultimately separate from us rather than as apart of us is the source of a powerful environmental ethic. The work of Martin Buber, Rudolf Otto, and Peter Wessei Zapffe forms the conceptual framework for a view of nature as a Thou or a “Wholly Other,” a view which inspires awe for the nonhuman intrinsic value in nature. In contrast to the Self-realization approach of Naess and others, intrinsic value is here independent of the notion of a self. This approach suggests an ethic of humility and respect for nonhuman nature-to the degree that the continued existence of humans should be considered an open question .
43. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Warwick Fox The Deep Ecology-Ecofeminism Debate and Its Parallels
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There has recently been considerable discussion of the relative merits of deep ecology and ecofeminism, primarily from an ecofeminist perspective. I argue that the essential ecofeminist charge against deep ecology is that deep ecology focuses on the issue of anthropocentrism (i.e., human-centeredness) rather than androcentrism (i.e., malecenteredness). I point out that this charge is not directed at deep ecology’s positive or constructive task of encouraging an attitude of ecocentric egalitarianism, but rather at deep ecology's negative or critical task of dismantling anthropocentrism. I outline a number of problems that can attend not only the ecofeminist critique of deep ecology, but also comparable critiques that proceed from a broad range of social and political perspectives. I then proceed to argue that deep ecology’s concem with anthropocentrism is entirely defensible-and defensible in a way that should be seen as complementing and expanding the focus of radical social and political critiques rather thanin terms of these approaches versus deep ecology.
44. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Ramachandra Guha Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Perservation: A Third World Critique
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I present a Third World critique of the trend in American environmentalism known as deep ecology, analyzing each of deep ecology’s central tenets: the distinction between anthropocentrism and biocentrism, the focus on wildemess preservation, the invocation of Eastem traditions, and the belief that it represents the most radical trend within environmentalism. I argue that the anthropocentrism/biocentrism distinction is of little use in understanding the dynamics of environmental degredation, that the implementation of the wildemess agenda is causing serious deprivation in the Third World, that the deep ecologist’s interpretation of Eastem traditions is highly selective, and that in other cultural contexts (e.g., West Germany and India) radical environmentalism manifests itself quite differently, with a far greater emphasis on equity and the integration of ecological concems with livelihood and work. I conclude that despite its claims to universality, deep ecology is firmly rooted in American environmental and cultural history and is inappropriate when applied to the Third World.
45. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Charles T. Rubin Environmental Policy and Environmental Thought: Commoner and Ruckelshaus
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A close examination of the major works of Barry Commoner provides insight into some of the assumptions that characterize current environmental debate, particularly over the risk/benefit approach brought to the EPA by William Ruckelshaus . Commoner’s analysis of environmental problems depends much more on what Ruckelshaus would call his own “vision of how we want the world to be” than on scientificfindings. I trace this vision through Commoner’s commitment to socialist political change to a profound belief in the ability of technology to rationalize man' s relationship to nature. I argue that this widely shared but utopian perspective hampers the serious consideration of environmental issues, even by those who, like Ruckelshaus, believe that they are presenting an alternative to it.
46. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jim Cheney Postmodern Environmental Ethics: Ethics of Bioregional Narrative
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Recent developments in ethics and postmodemist epistemology have set the stage for a reconceptualization of environmental ethics. In this paper, I sketch a path for postmodemism which makes use of certain notions current in contemporary environmentalism. At the center of my thought is the idea of place: (1) place as the context of our lives and the setting in which ethical deliberation takes place; and (2)the epistemological function of place in the construction of our understandings of self, community, and world. Central to these themes, in tum, are the related notions of myth, narrative, storied residence, and ethical vernacular.
47. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Merrit P. Drucker The Military Commander’s Responsibility for the Environment
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I argue that military commanders have professional responsibilities for the environment in both peace and war. Peacetime responsibilities arise out of the commander’s general responsibilities as an agent of the state. Wartime responsibilities are part of the commander’s responsibility to protect noncombatants and to protect an environment that is the inherently valuable heritage of mankind. Commanders must assurne some risk to protect the environment. I conclude that we must stop not only the environmental damage caused by war, but also war itself if we are to remain a viable species.
48. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Douglas Crawford-Brown, Neil E. Pearce Sufficient Proof in the Scientific Justification of Environmental Actions
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Environmental actions require a willingness to act, which, in turn, is stimulated partially by the belief that an action will yield the desired consequences. In determining whether an actor was justified in exerting the will to act, therefore, it is essential to examine the nature of evidence offered by the actor in support of any beliefs about the environment. In this paper we explore the points in environmental risk analyses at which evidence is brought to bear in support of inferences conceming environmental effects of regulatory actions. The intent is to provide a framework for discussing the manner in which evidence may provide a sufficient basis for ethically sound decisions for environmental actions.
49. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Robyn Eckersley Diving Evolution: The Ecological Ethics of Murray Bookchin
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I provide an exposition and critique of the ecological ethics of Murray Bookchin. First, I show how Bookchin draws on ecology and evolutionary biology to produce a mutually constraining cluster of ethical guidelines to underpin and justify his vision of a nonhierarchical, ecological society. I then critically examine Bookchin’s method of justification and the normative consequences that flow from his position. I argue that Bookchin’s enticing promise that his ecological ethics offers the widest realm of freedom to all life forms is undermined by the way in which he distinguishes and privileges second nature (the human realm) over first nature (the nonhuman realm). I conclude that Bookchin’s promise can only be delivered by a biocentric philosophy (which he rejects) rather than by his own ecological ethics.
50. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
John P. Clark Marx’s Inorganic Body
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Attempts to find an authentically ecological outlook in Marx’s philosophy of nature are ultimately unsuccessful. Although Marx does at times point the way toward a truly ecological dialectic, he does not himself follow that way. Instead, he proposes a problematic of technological liberation and mastery of nature that preserves many of the dualisms of that tradition of domination with which he ostensibly wishes to break.
51. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Eugene C. Hargrove Callicott and the Foundations of Environmental Ethics
52. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Laura Westra Ecology and Animals: Is There a Joint Ethic of Respect?
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Recent work in animal ethics has advanced principles that are too individualistic to be compatible with a holistic environmental ethic such as the land ethic proposed by Aldo Leopold. J. Baird Callicott, on the other hand, has attempted to reconcile the two ethics by suggesting that sympathy, natural among humanity, as he claims on Humean grounds, does not necessarily terminate at the species barrier. His argument shows minimally that it is not necessary that we abandon ecological ethics in order to view nonhuman animals as morally considerable. I argue instead that it is not sympathy, but hostility/indifference that manifests the reality of life in wild nature, and as such forms a better basis for an all-encompassing ethic. If one accepts that the factual realm suggests the limits of norms and establishes the background and context of normative judgments in this context (as Holmes Roiston, III, for instance, does), then a different line of argument can be developed. I argue that intraspecies and interspecies ethics ought to be different for us because behavior in the wild is different within and without a species. Further, I argue that hostility/indifference coupled with respect form the basis of an approach which embraces a holistic environmental ethic as weil as one concemed with nonhuman animals.
53. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
David Edward Shaner, R. Shannon Duval Conservation Ethics and the Japanese Intellectual Tradition
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A systematic philosophy that presupposes an ecocentric world view, rather than a homocentric or egocentric world view, can be a viable resource for investigating issues in environmental philosophy and conservation ethics. Generally speaking, the Japanese philosophical and religious tradition represents a commitment to ecocentrism. This philosophical orientation is in concert with the world view of manynaturalists. We explore one example of ecocentrism by unveiling the crosscultural connection between the naturalistic philosophy of Louis Agassiz, a nineteenth-century French-American biologist, and the early writings of Nishida Kitarō, a twentieth-century Japanese philosopher. We suggest that the central player in understanding the ecocentric connection between Agassiz and Nishida is American philosopher-psychologist William James. James was once a student of Agassiz and his writings influenced Nishida's early work. Related issues concerning conservation ethics and the Japanese intellectual tradition are also addressed.
54. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Frederick Ferré Obstacles on the Path to Organismic Ethics:: Some Second Thoughts
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An organismic viewpoint is a welcome alternative to modern mechanistic consciousness, with the latter’s excessive epistemic reliance on analysis, its ontological presumption of atomism, and its value commitments to competition, quantification, reduction, and predictability. These ideas have had negative social and environmental consequences and require replacement. Organismic ethics, grounded in the “wisdom of life”--especially the dialectical triad of creativity, homeostasis, and holism-is far healthier. But organicism alone has serious defects sometimes overlooked by environmental enthusiasts (earlier including this author): life’s creativity wastes individual organisms, and life’s holism neglects the unique value of parts in favor of larger unities. Is it possible to work out a genuinely personalistic organicism? Traditional personalistic idealism will not do, but insights into essential personal qualities may enrich the concepts of creativity, homeostasis, and holism enough to offer a start toward a more adequate ethic.
55. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 4
Daniel Putman Tragedy and Nonhumans
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The concept of tragedy has been central to much of human history; yet, twentieth-century philosophers have done little to analyze what tragedy means outside of the theater. Utilizing a framework from MacIntyre’s After Virtue, I first discuss what tragedy is for human beings and some of its ethical implications. Then I analyze how we use the concept with regard to nonhumans. Although the typical application of the concept to animals is thoroughly anthropocentric, I argue first that the concept of tragedy can be applied directly to nonhumans (a) because the loss of potential for some nonhumans may be as a great or greater than loss of potential for some humans to whom the concept applies and (b) because tragedy depends on what is valued and, for those creatures that do not conceptualize death, the destruction of the present moment through pain and suffeling is the ultimate loss, and second that self-awareness in the human sense is not necessary for tragedy.
56. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 4
Stanley N. Salthe, Barbara M. Salthe Ecosystem Moral Considerability: A Reply to Cahen
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Appeals to science as a help in constructing policy on complex issues often assume that science has relatively clear-cut, univocal answers. That is not so today in the environmentally crucial fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. The social role of science has been as a source of information to be used in the prediction and domination of nature. Its perspectives are finely honed for such purposes. However, other more conscientious perspectives are now appearing within science, and we provide an example here in rebuttal to the claim that there is no warrant from within ecology for ecosystem moral considerability.
57. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 4
Ann S. Causey On the Morality of Hunting
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The controversy between hunting apologists and their anti-hunting antagonists continues to escalate. Numerous attempts to settle the issue have failed in part because the participants have often not distinguished and treated separately the various activities labeled “hunting.” Those who participate in hunting fall into one of two categories: shooters or sport hunters. Shooters are those whose ultimate goals do not depend on hunting but can be met in other ways; sport hunters are those who take immense pleasure in the hunt itself and who kill in order to have had an authentic hunting experience. Discussion of the morality of hunting (as opposed to its prudence) is properly restricted to the moral evaluation of the desire of sport hunters to kill for pleasure. This desire can be explained by biological/evolutionary concepts and defended as morally neutral. Neither the animal protectionists nor the utilitarian apologists recognize that violent death is part of nature and that man’s desire to participate in it can be both natural and culturally valuable. Though well-intentioned, utilitarianism is an impotent ethical defense of hunting because it can judge only the prudence, not the morality, of hunting.
58. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 4
Jim Cheney The Neo-Stoicism of Radical Environmentalism
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Feminist analysis has eonvineed me that certain tendencies within that form of radical environmentalism known as deep ecology-with its supposed rejection of the Western ethical tradition and its adoption of what looks to be a feminist attitude toward the environment and our relationship to nature-constitute one more chapter in the story of Western alienation from nature. In this paper I deepen my critique of these tendencies toward alienation within deep ecology by historicizing my critique in the light of a development in the ancient world that is disquietingly similar to the rise of deep ceology in recent times-namely, the rise of Stoicism in the wake of the breakup of the ancient polis.
59. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Carolyn Merchant Environmental Ethics and Political Conflict: A View from California
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l examine three approaches to environmental ethics and illustrate them with examples from California. An egocentric ethic is grounded in the self and based on the assumption that what is good for the individual is good for society. Historically associated with laissez faire capitalism and a religious ethic of human dominion over nature, this approach is exemplified by the extraction of natural resources from the commons by private interests. A homocentric ethic is grounded in society and is based on the assumption that policies should reflect the greatest good for the greatest number of people and that, as stewards of the natural world, humans should conserve and protect nature for human benefit. Historically associated with govemment regulation of the private sector, a homocentric approach can be illustrated by federal, state, and local environmental agencies charged with protecting the welfare of the general public. An ecocentric ethic is grounded in the cosmos, or whole environment, and isbased on the assignment of intrinsic value to nonhuman nature. Exemplified by ecologically based sciences and process-oriented philosophies, an ecocentric approach often underlies the political positions of environmentalists. This threefold taxonomy may be useful in identifying underlying ethical assumptions in cases where ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest develop among entrepreneurs, govemment agencies, and environmentalists.
60. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Thomas H. Birch The Incarceration of Wildness: Wilderness Areas as Prisons
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Even with the very best intentions , Western culture’s approach to wilderness and wildness, the otherness of nature, tends to be one of imperialistic domination and appropriation. Nevertheless, in spite of Western culture’s attempt to gain total control over nature by imprisoning wildness in wilderness areas, which are meant to be merely controlled “simulations” of wildness, a real wildness, a real otherness, can still be found in wilderness reserves . This wildness can serve as the literal ground for the subversion of the imperium, and consequently as the basis for the practical establishment of and residence in what WendeII Berry has called the “landscape of harmony.” Here all land becomes wild sacred space that humans consciously come to reinhabit. In this subversive potential lies the most fundamental justification for the legal establishment of wilderness reserves.