Environmental Ethics

Volume 41, Issue 2, Summer 2019

Juan Pablo Hernández BetancurOrcid-ID
Pages 99-114

Is There Common Ground between Anthropocentrists and Nonanthropocentrists?

Despite the fact that their disagreement concerns the most basic metaethical and metaphysical questions regarding our relation to nature, it has become apparent that many anthropocentrists share with nonanthropocentrists a concern for the environment for its own sake, that is to say, a noninstrumental concern for nature. This concern is also present in practical spheres of environmental engagement. With regard to the philosophical task of justifying the claim that we ought to protect nature, this concern imposes on those that share it at least three conditions: priority, independence of future interaction, and universality. Reasonably specified, these conditions are neutral between anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism and should be attractive to both camps. Although there are reasons to think it would be difficult to meet all three conditions at the same time, with some modification a promising way to do it becomes apparent.