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Environmental Ethics

Phil 1030 - Summer 2013

Jessie Harshbarger

on 17 July 2013

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Transcript of Environmental Ethics

Backgound Information
Environmental Ethics - PHI 1030, Summer 2013
Intrinsic Value - Something has value in and of itself

Extrinsic Value - Something is valuable solely as a means to a ends

Concept of Moral Status/Moral Considerability - Something has moral status if it is a suitable candidate for moral concern or respect in its own right

Anthropocentrism - The idea that only humans have moral status

Zoocentrism - The idea that all animals have moral status

Biocentrism - The idea that all living entities have moral status
Main Anthropocentric Moral Theories
Some more definitions
Main Zoocentric/Biocentric Moral Theories
Every living thing should be treated never solely as a means but also as an ends
According to Tom Regan, the result of this thinking would end factory farming, animal experimentation and hunting
In calculating which action will produce the greatest overall satisfaction, we must include the interests of all sentient creatures and give their interests equal weight.
The pain suffered by a human is no more important than the pain experienced by a nonhuman animal or other living being
By the anthropocentric lights, the rest of nature has only instrumental rights.
Anything from nonhuman animals, plants, mountains, streams, have value only because it it enhances the well-being of humankind
This does not imply a disregard for the environment

What is environmentalism?
Forest Conservation
Species Egaltitarians - One who believes that all living things have equal moral status

Species Nonegalitarians - One who believes that some living things have greater moral status than others (a dog has more moral status than a cactus)

Ecological Individualist - One who believes that the fundamental unit of moral consideration is the individual

Ecological Holist - One who believes that that the fundamental unit of moral consideration is the entire biotic community - the good of the whole will always outweight the good of the individual
Animals have only instrumental value
"Animals... they are merely as means to an end. That end is man" -
Thomas Aquinas Also believed that aminals are only tools for mankind to use
The Bible
Commands that humans "subdue'' the Earth and "have domination over the fish in the sea and over the birds of the air and over every other living thing that moves upon the Earth'' (Genesis 1.28)
Why should humans be granted this moral right?
Goes along with the Kantian lines that humans are moral agents or persons.
They are capable of making free, rational moral choices

Political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities; through the adoption of forms of political, economic, and social organization that are thought to be necessary for, or at least conducive to, the benign treatment of the environment by humans; and through a reassessment of humanity’s relationship with nature.

(Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/189205/environmentalism)
Aldo Leopold's Land Ethics
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise” – Aldo Leopold

(Bell, Michael Mayerfeld. An Invitation to Environmental Sociology. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2012. Print.)

In other words, there is a reciprocal relationship between human beings and the whole natural environment, and we have to preserve it, we have to maintain an equilibrium with it, as well as appreciate the natural beauty of the environment.
We Use Forests For:
livelihood, fuel, fiber and homes for hunters and gatherers
a home for the thousands of plant and animal species
purification of the air
CO2 --> O2
Jessica Harshbarger, Morghan Dernocoeur, Antonio Luna-Galindo & Omar Prieto
Why should people care about the environment?
• Human beings share a reciprocal relationship with the natural environment
 - The natural environment is much as part of us as it we are a part of it. We use natural resources that are vital for our survival like water, the land, animals, plants & trees (health, medicines), biodiversity, climate regulation, pest control, etc.

• It is all around us
 - From the smallest microorganism, to a plant, to an animal, to the tallest tree in the world, to the vast oceans that houses all maritime life known and unknown.

• We are degrading and polluting the environment, and thus ourselves
 - Deforestation
 - Pollution (air, water, and land)
 - Natural resource exploitation
 - Ozone depletion
 - GMOs
 - Fishery exploitation
 - Biodiversity and ecosystem decline
 - Land degradation
 - Hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
 - Global Climate Change

lumber, firewood, paper, rubber, fruit, nuts & medicine
evolutionary, scientific, and genetic knowledge
industries and agriculture
building roads for sight-seeing
tourism (business)
also production of charcoal
But They Are Also Needed For:
Carbon Cycle
Only as ends and not means
“Animals…are there merely as means to an end. That end is man.” – Kant
The bible also suggests an anthropocentric attitude toward nature. Commanding that humans “subdue” the earth and “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1.28).
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