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Environmental Ethics

Volume 21, Issue 4, Winter 1999

Peter S. Wenz
Pages 391-410

Pragmatism in Practice
The Efficiency of Sustainable Agriculture

Bryan Norton advocates using the perspectives and methods of American pragmatism in environmental philosophy. J. Baird Callicott criticizes Norton’s view as unproductive anti-philosophy. I find worth and deficiencies in both sides. On the one hand, I support the pragmatic approach, illustrating its use in an argument for sustainable agriculture. On the other hand, I take issue with Norton’s claim that pragmatists should confine themselves to anthrpocentric arguments. Here I agree with Callicott’s inclusion of nonanthropocentric consideration. However, I reject Callicott’s moral monism. In sum, I support pragmatic moral pluralism that includes nonanthropocentric values.