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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 19, 1994

J. Baird Callicott
Pages 51-60

Moral Monism in Environmental Ethics Defended

In dealing with concern for fellow human beings, sentient animals, and the enviroment, Christopher D. Stone suggests that a single agent adopt a different ethical theory---e.g., Kant’s, Bentham’s, Leopold’s---for each domain. Ethical theories, however, and their attendant rules and principles are embedded in moral philosophies. Employing Kant’s categorical imperative in this case, Bentham’s hedonic caIculus in that, and Leopold’s land ethic in another, a single agent would therefore have either simultaneously or cyclically to endorse contradictory moral philosophies. Instead, I suggest that different and sometimes conflicting duties and obligations are generated by an agent’s membership in multiple moral communities. Peter Wenz, Gary Varner, Andrew Brennan, Anthony Weston, and Eugene Hargrove, among others, variously misunderstand either what is at issue in the monism versus pluralism debate in environmental ethics or my suggested communitarian altemative to the sort of pluralism that Stone recommends.

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