HNRS379_S12_L06 - University of San Diego Home Pages

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Transcript HNRS379_S12_L06 - University of San Diego Home Pages

Valuation of Nature
Introduction to Environmental Ethics
How might we justify a particular environmental
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
1. Descriptive ethics
2. Metaethics
3. Normative ethics
4. Practical ethics
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
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?
Some possible options:
Traditional ethical theories
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
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?