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Environmental Ethics

Volume 13, Issue 2, Summer 1991

Gary E. Varner
Pages 175-179
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics199113228

No Holism without Pluralism

In his recent essay on moral pluralism in environmental ethics, J. Baird Callicott exaggerates the advantages of monism, ignoring the environmentally unsound implications of Leopold’s holism. In addition, he fails to see that Leopold’s view requires the same kind of intellectual schitzophrenia for which he criticizes the version of moral pluralism advocated by Christopher D. Stone in Earth and Other Ethics. If it is plausible to say that holistic entities like ecosystems are directly morally considerable-and that is a very big if-it must be for a very different reason than is usually given for saying that individual human beings are directly morally considerable.

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