Volume 7, Issue 18, Fall 2012
David E. Schrader
Living Together in an Ecological Community
Environmental ethics uniquely challenges us to re-examine the foundations of ethical thought. Ethical frameworks that focus on individual ethical agents and ethical patients, ignoring their status as parts of interrelated communities, lead to strongly counterintuitive results in important cases. Ideas only hinted at in Aldo Leopold’s idea of “land ethic” can be developed fruitfully by extending a pragmatist ethical framework drawn from the work of William James. Such a framework is not without difficulties, but does offer a potentially valuable way of framing our ethical obligations toward the encompassing environment within which we live.