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Environmental Ethics

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 1995

Gus Di Zerega
Pages 23-37
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics199517134

Individuality, Human and Natural Communities, and the Foundations of Environmental Ethics

An ecologically informed view of ethics focuses upon individuals considered in relation to the communities within which they live. Such a view holds that ethics is rooted in the fundamental relationships characterizing particular types of communities. From this perspective, the different communities of the polity, family, and ecosystem superficially appear to have very different ethical systems. In fact, however, all are characterized by respect for community members. Respect is the fundamental ethical insight. This view suggests a way of harmonizing modern society’s relationship with the natural world and of bringing ethical theory into closer harmony with humankind’s most timeless insights.

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