Environmental Ethics

Volume 41, Issue 2, Summer 2019

Simon P. James
Pages 115-128

Nature’s Indifference

Contrary to what writers such as Hans Jonas and Val Plumwood suggest, much of nature is indifferent to human interests. Mountains, glaciers, sun-baked salt pans—such entities care neither about what interests us humans nor about what is objectively in our interests. It might be hard to see how the property of being indifferent, in this sense, could add value. But it can. For those of us who inhabit highly technological, user-friendly environments, entities such as mountains can have therapeutic value precisely because they so obviously do not care about what matters to us.