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Environmental Philosophy

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published on January 30, 2015

Donald S. Maier, Jeffrey A. Lockwood
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil201512918

Conservation as Picking up Trash in Nature

This essay explores a previously unexplored suggestion for combining consideration of aesthetics with considerations of vice and virtue to justify, not merely claims about nature’s beauty or its preservation, but landscape-transforming conservation projects. Its discussion is not univocal. On the one hand, it suggests that vices associated with humans assisting a creature’s journey to a new landscape make that organism’s presence on that landscape ugly. According to this suggestion, the creature may be regarded as trash, which would be virtuous to remove. On the other hand, it worries that the argument ultimately traces this circle: It is wrong to fail to remove the creature because this failure would be blameworthy; and failure to remove would be blameworthy because wrong.

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