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41. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 11 > Issue: 3
Eugene C. Hargrove Callicott and the Foundations of Environmental Ethics
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. 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.
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Theodore R. Vitali Sport Hunting: Moral or Immoral?
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Hunting for sport or pleasure is ethical because (1) it does not violate any animal’s moral rights, (2) it has as its primary object the exercise of human skills, which is a sufficient good to compensate for the evil that results from it, namely, the death of the animal, and (3) it contributes to the ecological system by directly participating in the balancing process of life and death upon which the ecosystem thrives, thus indirectly benefiting the human community. As such, hunting is not only a natural good, but also a moral good.
52. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Annie L. Booth, Harvey L. Jacobs Ties that Bind: Native American Beliefs as a Foundation for Environmental Consciousness
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In this article we examine the specific contributions Native American thought can make to the ongoing search for a Western ecological consciousness. We begin with a review of the influence of Native American beliefs on the different branches of the modem environmental movement and some initial comparisons of Western and Native American ways of seeing. We then review Native American thought on the natural world, highlighting beliefs in the need for reciprocity and balance, the world as a living being, and relationships with animals. We conclude that Native American ideas are important, can prove inspirational in the search for a modem environmental consciousness, and affirm the arguments of both deep ecologists and ecofeminists.
53. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Janna Thompson A Refutation of Environmental Ethics
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An environmental ethic holds that some entities in nature or in natural states of affairs are intrinsically valuable. I argue that proposals for an environmental ethic either fail to satisfy requirements which any ethical system must satisty to be an ethic or they fail to give us reason to suppose that the values they promote are intrinsic values. If my arguments are correct, then environmental ethics is not properly ethics at all.
54. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Arne Naess Man Apart and Deep Ecology: A Reply to Reed
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Peter Reed has defended the basis for an environmental ethic based upon feelings of awe for nature together with an existentialist absolute gulf between humans and nature. In so doing, he has claimed that there are serious difficulties with Ecosophy T and the terms, Self-realization and identification with nature. I distinguish between discussions of ultimate norms and the penultimate deep ecology platform. I also clarify and defend a technical use of identification and attempt to show that awe and identification may be compatible concepts.
55. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Karen J. Warren The Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism
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Ecological feminism is the position that there are important connections-historical, symbolic, theoretical-between the domination of women and the domination of nonhuman nature. I argue that because the conceptual connections between the dual dominations of women and nature are located in an oppressive patriarchal conceptual framework characterized by a logic of domination, (1) the logic of traditional feminism requires the expansion of feminism to include ecological feminism and (2) ecological feminism provides a framework for developing a distinctively feminist environmental ethic. I conclude that any feminist theory and any environmental ethic which fails to take seriously the interconnected dominations of women and nature is simply inadequate.
56. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
J. Baird Callicott The Case against Moral Pluralism
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Despite Christopher Stone’s recent argument on behalf of moral pluralism, the principal architects of environmental ethics remain committed to moral monism. Moral pluralism fails to specify what to do when two or more of its theories indicate inconsistent practical imperatives. More deeply, ethical theories are embedded in moral philosophies and moral pluralism requires us to shift between mutually inconsistent metaphysics of morals, most of which are no Ionger tenable in light of postmodern science. A univocal moral philosophy-traceable to David Hume’s and Adam Smith’s theory of moral sentiments, grounded in evolutionary biology by Charles Darwin, and latterly extended to the environment by Aldo Leopold-provides a unified, scientifically supported world view and portrait of human nature in whichmultiple, lexically ordered ethics are generated by multiple human, “mixed,” and “biotic” community memberships.
57. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Bob Pepperman Taylor John Dewey and Environmental Thought
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In response to Chaloupka’s discussion of Dewey’s “social aesthetics,” I argue, first, that Chaloupka has failed to fully appreciate the democratic, political foundation of Dewey’s aesthetic sensibility and, second, that his description of Dewey’s naturalism is ambiguous and misleading. I conclude that Dewey does have things to say to environmental thinkers, but that his views regarding environmental issues are much less unique than Chaloupka suggests. His work stands more as a democratic challenge to environmentalists than as a guide for their thought.
58. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Donald Alexander Bioregionalism: Science or Sensibility?
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The current interest in bioregionalism, stimulated in part by Kirkpatrick Sale’s Dwellers in the Land, shows that people are looking for a form of political praxis which addresses the importance of region. In this paper, I argue that much of the bioregional literature written to date mystifies the concept of region, discounting the role of subjectivity and culture in shaping regional boundaries and veers toward asimplistic view of “nature knows best.” Bioregionalism can be rehabilitated, provided we treat it not as a “revealed wisdom” for the reconstruction of human society, but as a sensibility and environmental ethic that can infuse our work even as we make use of the functional regionalisms that increasingly shape people’s consciousness. I conclude by citing Lewis Mumford’s concept of a region as capturing the dialectical interplay of natural and cultural elements.
59. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
David M. Johns The Relevance of Deep Ecology to the Third World: Some Preliminary Comments
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Although Ramachandra Guha has demonstrated the importance of cross-cultural dialogue on environmental issues and has much to tell us about the problems of wildemess preservation in the Third World, I argue that Guha is partly wrong in claiming that deep ecology equates environmental protection with wilderness protection and simply wrong in calling wilderness protection untenable or incorrect as aglobal strategy for environmental protection. Moreover, I argue that the deep ecology distinction between anthropocentrism and biocentrism is useful in dealing with the two major problems which Guha identifies as undermining the health of the planetoverconsumption and militarism. Although it is true that preservation of wildemess will not be successful unless human social dynamics are taken into consideration, nevertheless, a biocentrism which integrates critical social theory can provide the basis for an ethic that undercuts the environmental degradation from overconsumption and militarism more effectively than a human-centered system.
60. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 12 > Issue: 3
John S. Dryzek Green Reason: Communicative Ethics for the Biosphere
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Exclusively instrumental notions of rationality not only reinforce attitudes conducive to the destruction of the natural world, but also undermine attempts to construct environmental ethics that involve more harmonious relationships between humans and nature. Deep ecologists and other ecological critics of instrumental rationality generally prefer some kind of spiritual orientation to nature. In this paper I argue against both instrumental rationalists and ecological spiritualists in favor of a communicative rationality which encompasses the natural world. I draw upon both critical theory and recent scientific intimations of agency in nature.