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Environmental Ethics

Volume 2, Issue 4, Winter 1980

Tom Regan
Pages 363-367
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics19802426

On the Connection Between Environmental Science and Environmental Ethics

I critically assess Don Marietta’s thesis that obligations are not dictates of reason but rather are imbedded in a person’s “world view.” The notion of “a view of the world” is both vague and leads to consequences common to all forms of subjectivism in ethics, since world views can and sometimes do vary from person to person. Marietta cannot avoid these consequences by arguing that some views of the world are “more reasonable” than others, since counting rationality as an appropriate basis for choosing between world views is itself to favor a particular view of the world. Neither then can Marietta consistently argue for the preferability of a world view which grounds our obligations regarding the ecosystem in environnlental science. Given his general position, this can only tell us what he prefers, not what is preferable.

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