Environmental Ethics

Volume 21, Issue 3, Fall 1999

Yeuk-Sze Lo
Pages 247-266

Natural and Artifactual
Restored Nature as Subject

It has been argued that human restoration of nature is morally problematic because artificially restored natural entities are artifacts, which are ontologically different from natural entities and hence essentially devoid of the moral standing that natural entities have. I discuss the alleged assimilation of restored natural entities to artifacts, and argue that it does not follow from the ontological differences, if any, between the artifactual and the natural that the former is morally inferior to the latter. This defense against the devaluation of restored natural entities is aimed at narrowing the ethical gap between the wild and the tamed, which is often endorsed by ecocentric environmental ethics.