Volume 18, 2002
Truth and Objectivity in Social Ethics
A Sense of Ecological Humanity
Many cultures understand that being a flourishing human involves respectful relationships with the wider universe of life on Earth. Call this, “a sense of ecological humanity.” In this paper, I explore conceptual resources available for developing such a way of being. To this end, I explore two modes of practical reasoning. The first is analogical extension, which understands the respect due human life as the source of a like respect for non-human life. The second is analogical implication, which comes to self-respect out of respect for nature. These modes excavate two sides of an ecological relationship possible within our already existing sense of humanity, allow us to know ourselves more profoundly, and limit our capacity for wantonness. Our capitalist culture would do well to mature through these forms of practical reasoning.