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Environmental Ethics

Volume 10, Issue 3, Fall 1988

Don E. Marietta, Jr.
Pages 251-258
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics198810314

Ethical Holism and Individuals

Environmental holism has been accused of being totalitarian because it subsumes the interests and rights of individuals under the good of the whole biosphere, thus rejecting humanistic ethics. Whether this is true depends on the type of holism in question. Only an extreme form of holism leads to this totalitarian approach, and that type of holism should be rejected, not alone because it leads to unacceptable practices, but because it is too abstract and reductionistic to be an adequate basis for ethics.

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