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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.