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Environmental Ethics

Volume 33, Issue 3, Fall 2011

Nancy M. Rourke
Pages 249-266

Prudence Gone Wild
Catholic Environmental Virtue Ethics

A Catholic environmental virtue ethic must include an understanding of prudence that incorporates attunement significantly. Catholic theologians are reluctant to revise notions of prudence, but there are traditions in theology that support such an approach. Catholic virtue ethical traditions point to this necessity, and, in addition, philosophical environmental virtue ethics (which are much more fully developed) simply insist on it. The comparison of a moral character (as it is understood in virtue ethics) with a bioregion’s ecosystem helps support this argument.