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Environmental Ethics

Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring 2008

Jason Kawall
Pages 69-88
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics200830118

On Behalf of Biocentric Individualism
A Response to Victoria Davion

Victoria Davion in “Itch Scratching, Patio Building, and Pesky Flies: Biocentric Individualism Revisited” takes biocentric individualism to task, focusing in particular on my paper, “Reverence for Life as a Viable Environmental Virtue.” Davion levels a wide-range of criticisms, and concludes that we humans would be better off putting biocentric individualism aside to focus on more important issues and positions. Worries raised by Davion can be defended by elaborating on the position laid out in the original paper, including a background normative theory appealing to hypothetical virtuous ideal observers, upon which the position is drawn. Many of her criticisms appear to arise out of misreading or ignoring what is explicitly argued. When these misconstruals are corrected, it becomes clear that there is still space for a viable virtue of reverence for life.