Nature in Common?: Environmental Ethics and the Contested by Ben Minteer

By Ben Minteer

This significant booklet brings jointly best environmental thinkers to discuss a significant clash inside of environmental philosophy: should still we have fun with nature more often than not for its skill to improve our pursuits or should still we admire it as having a superb of its personal, except any contribution to human wellbeing and fitness? particularly, the fourteen essays accumulated right here talk about the “convergence speculation” placed forth via Bryan Norton—a arguable thesis in environmental ethics concerning the coverage implications of ethical arguments for environmental safeguard. traditionally influential essays are joined with newly-commissioned essays to supply the 1st sustained try to reconcile long-opposed positions. Bryan Norton himself deals the book’s remaining essay.   This seminal quantity comprises contributions from one of the most revered students within the box, together with Donald Brown, J. Baird Callicott, Andrew gentle, Holmes Rolston III, Laura Westra, and so forth. even supposing Nature in universal? might be specially worthy for college kids and execs learning environmental ethics and philosophy, it is going to interact any reader who's interested by the philosophies underlying modern environmental regulations.

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Extra resources for Nature in Common?: Environmental Ethics and the Contested Foundations of Environmental Policy

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In the presence of such knowledge, the possibility that we can determine when species decline or loss is ecologically benign becomes quite real. Conversely, if a sufficiently detailed and comprehensive body of ecological knowledge is an impossibility, then environmental management becomes a practical impossibility in the same way that managing human health would have been impossible without the tremendous advances made by medical science. This kind of “argument from ignorance” is one that Norton uses quite extensively to criticize the traditional economic approach to valuing species.

26 Contex tualism, Decision Criteria, and Convergence As mentioned earlier, setting aside questions about the acceptability of the SMS criterion from the perspective of deep ecology, the other half of the convergence hypothesis can be questioned. Would long-sighted or weak anthropocentrism, understood within a contextualist framework, result in the SMS criterion? My position is that it would not. The problem is that contextualism provides inadequate support for the presumption that species can be allowed to diminish in abundance or go extinct (locally, regionally, or globally) only in those cases where the costs of preservation are prohibitive.

As a result, Norton can easily respond that such a theoretical problem is not worrisome because it has no impact on policy formation. At that level, the SMS criterion will be the most reasonable such criterion for the contextualist manager to adopt, and if it is also the most reasonable criterion for deep ecologists to adopt, then the convergence hypothesis holds for species preservation. However, some questions must be answered: Is our present ecological ignorance simply a contingent phenomenon, or are ecological structures so complex that it is inconceivable we will ever come to acquire sufficient knowledge to generate causal principles linking phenomena in lower holons with processes in higher ones?

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