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CHAPTER 16 – ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
Chapter Summary
Nature and Morality
What relations are there between nature and morality?
What obligations do we have to nature?
Environmental ethical issues
There are a number of issues of concern:
1. Waste and destruction of natural resources
2. Exploiting, misusing and polluting the environment
3. Exploiting, abusing and destroying animals
a. Hunting and destroying animals for food and body parts
b. Raising animals for food
c. Using animals for scientific experimentation
d. Endangerment, decimation and extinction of animal species
Our attitudes toward nature and what lies behind it
Native Americans one with nature
Eastern religions also see nature and humans as unified.
Western view more dualistic. Two sources of dualism.
1. Platonic dualism
2. Judeo-Christian
Rise of science and scientific progress
Sources of dualism also give rise to science, technology, industrialization and the encroachment
of nature by civilization.
Arguments for use and exploitation of natural environment
1. Dominance over nature
a. Religious basis
b. Natural order/evolution
2. Human reasoning versus nature as blind and non-reasoning
3. Civilization more important than nature
4. Moral rights and obligations – humans more important
Arguments against the use and exploitation of nature
1. Monistic wholism versus dominance and domination?
2. Reasoning should not separate humans from nature and nature should not be subordinated to
civilization.
Moderate position
Treat nature with respect but still (carefully) use nature for human good.
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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.