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Valuation of Nature. Introduction to Environmental Ethics. How might we justify a particular environmental ethic?. 1. Anthropocentrism 2. Moral extentionism: zoocentrism/sentientism/psychocentrism, and biocentrism

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Valuation of nature

Valuation of Nature

Introduction to Environmental Ethics


How might we justify a particular environmental ethic
How might we justify a particular environmental ethic?

1. Anthropocentrism

2. Moral extentionism:

zoocentrism/sentientism/psychocentrism, and biocentrism

3. Novel features or entirely new approach such as ecocentrism, universal consideration, or the radical ecologies of deep ecology, ecofeminism, and social ecology


Approaches to ethics
Approaches to Ethics

  • Descriptive ethics

  • Metaethics

  • Normative ethics

  • Practical ethics


Environmental ethics some metaethical questions
Environmental Ethics:Some Metaethical Questions

  • Are environmental ethics nothing more than “applied ethics”?

  • Should we be ethical monists or ethical pluralists?

  • Is there a distinctive moral reality—moral realism—with a moral language that can make sense of moral facts as being right or wrong, or is morality nothing more than states of mind—moral subjectivism—with a moral language that merely expresses the attitudes of speakers?

  • Does it make sense to make a distinction between intrinsic value and instrumental value?

  • Should we even be concerned with the nature of ethics and ethical theory?


Normative ethics traditional ethical theories
Normative Ethics:Traditional Ethical Theories

  • Consequentialism

    • Utilitarianism

  • Deontological Approaches

    • Kant’s Moral Theory (or Kantianism)

    • Divine Command Theory

    • Natural Law Theory

    • Social Contract Theory

    • Human Rights

  • Virtue Ethics

    All of these theories can give us indirect duties to nature—the direct duties are owed to people.


Where can we find an anthropocentric approach to environmental ethics
Where can we find an anthropocentric approach to environmental ethics?

Some possible options:

  • Traditional ethical theories

  • Stewardship 

  • Various approaches to environmental justice]

  • Environmental economics 

  • Ecological (green) economics 

  • Extensions of traditional ethical theories to include future generations of people 

  • Somewhere else (as Mr. Spock from Star Trek says: “There are always alternatives”)


And finally
And Finally environmental ethics?

What kind of precaution, ma’am, should we exercise as we interact with nature?

How would you like your sustainability, ma’am—strong or weak?


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