Реферат: A role of environmental ethics in modern society
Kyiv national university of culture and arts
“ A role of the Environmental Ethics in the modern society”
Executed by: student TBA-40 group
Faculty: direction and television
Controlled by: Karpenko Valeriy I.
A Role of the Environmental Ethics in the modern society.
The inspiration for environmental ethics was the first Earth Day in 1970 when
environmentalists started urging philosophers who were involved with
environmental groups to do something about environmental ethics. An
intellectual climate had developed in the last few years of the 1960s in large
part because of the publication of two papers in Science: Lynn White`s
“The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis” (March 1967) and Garett
Hardin`s "The Tragedy of the Commons" (December 1968). Most influential with
regard to this kind of thinking, however, was an essay in Aldo Leopold`s A
Sand County Almanac, "The Land Ethic," in which Leopold explicitly claimed
that the roots of the ecological crisis were philosophical. Although originally
published in 1949, Sand County Almanac became widely available in 1970
in a special Sierra Club/Ballantine edition, which included essays from a
second book, Round River.
Most academic activity in the 1970s was spent debating the Lynn White thesis and
the tragedy of the commons. These debates were primarily historical,
theological, and religious, not philosophical. Throughout most of the decade
philosophers sat on the sidelines trying to determine what a field called
environmental ethics might look like. The first philosophical conference was
organized by William Blackstone at the University of Georgia in 1972. The
proceedings were published as Philosophy and Environmental Crisis in
1974, which included Pete Gunter`s first paper on the Big Thicket. In 1972 a
book called “Is It Too Late?” A Theology of Ecology, written by John B. Cobb,
was published. It was the first single-authored book written by a philosopher,
even though the primary focus of the book was theological and religious. In
1973 an Australian philosopher, Richard Routley (now Sylvan), presented a paper
at the 15th World Congress of Philosophy "Is There a Need for a New, an
Environmental, Ethic?" A year later John Passmore, another Australian, wrote
Man’s Responsibility for Nature, in which, reacting to Routley, he argued
that there was no need for an environmental ethic at all. Most debates among
philosophers until the mid-1980s was focused on refuting Passmore. In 1975
environmental ethics came to the attention of mainstream philosophy with the
publication of Holmes Rolston, III`s paper, "Is There an Ecological Ethic?" in
Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher and the founding editor of the journal
Inquiry authored and published a paper in Inquiry “The Shallow and
the Deep, Long-range Ecology Movement” in 1973, which was the beginning of the
deep ecology movement. Important writers in this movement include George
Sessions, Bill DeVall, Warwick Fox, and, in some respects, Max Oelschlaeger.
Throughout the 1970s Inquiry was the primary philosophy journal that
dealt with environmental ethics. Environmental ethics was, for the most part,
considered a curiosity and mainstream philosophy journals rarely published more
than one article per year, if that. Opportunities for publishing dramatically
improved in 1979 when Eugene C. Hargrove founded the journal Environmental
Ethics. The name of the journal became the name of the field.
The first five years of the journal was spent mostly arguing about rights for
nature and the relationship of environmental ethics and animal rights/animal
liberation. Rights lost and animal welfare ethics was determined to be a
separate field. Animal rights has since developed as a separate field with a
separate journal, first, Ethics and Animals, which was later superseded
by Between the Species.
Cobb published another book in the early 1980s, The Liberation of Life with
co-author Charles Birch. This book took a process philosophy approach in
accordance with the philosophy of organism of Alfred North Whitehead. Robin
Attfield, a philosopher in Wales, wrote a book called The Ethics of
Environmental Concern. It was the first full-length response to Passmore.
An anthology of papers, Ethics and the Environment, was edited by
Donald Scherer and Tom Attig.
There was a turning point about 1988 when many single-authored books began to
come available: Paul Taylor`s Respect for Nature; Holmes Rolston`s
Environmental Ethics; Mark Sagoff`s The Economy of the Earth; and
Eugene C. Hargrove`s Foundations of Environmental Ethics. J. Baird Callicott
created a collection of his papers, In Defence of the Land Ethic. Bryan
Norton wrote Why Preserve Natural Diversity? followed more recently by
Toward Unity among Environmentalists. A large number of books have been
written by Kristin Shrader-Frechette on economics and policy.
In the 1980s a second movement, ecofeminism, developed. Karen Warren is the
key philosopher, although the ecofeminism movement involves many thinkers
from other fields. It was then followed by a third, social ecology, based on
the views of Murray Bookchin. An important link between academics and radical
environmentalists was established with the creation of the Canadian deep
ecology journal, The Trumpeter. In 1989, Earth Ethics Quarterly was begun as
a more popular environmental publication. Originally intended primarily as a
reprint publication, now as a publication of the Centre for Respect for Life
and Environment, it is focused more on international sustainable development.
The 1990s began with the establishment of the International Society for
Environmental Ethics, which was founded largely through the efforts of Laura
Westra and Holmes Rolston, III. It now has members throughout the world. In
1992, a second refereed philosophy journal, dedicated to environmental
ethics, Environmental Values published its first issue in England.
On the theoretical level, Taylor and Rolston, despite many disagreements, can
be regarded as objective nonanthropocentric intrinsic value theorists.
Callicott, who follows Aldo Leopold closely, is a subjective
nonanthropocentric intrinsic value theorist. Hargrove is considered a weak
anthropocentric intrinsic value theorist. Sagoff is very close to this
position although he doesn’t talk about intrinsic value much and takes a
Kantian rather than an Aristotlian approach. At the far end is Bryan Norton
who thought up weak anthropocentrism but wants to replace intrinsic value
with a pragmatic conception of value.
A brief history of environmental consciousness in the western world places
our views in perspective and provides a context for understanding the maze of
related and unrelated thoughts, philosophies, and practices that we call
"environmentalism." Understanding where the questions being asked and
analyzed are coming from is essential in environmental analysis: the kinds of
questions asked by an environmental group and their interpretation of the
results can be vastly different from, for example, a utility, logging company
or special interest (ranchers grazing public lands, and so forth).
The term "environmental ethics," in fact the whole field, is a very recent
phenomenum, actually only several decades old, although many particular
concerns or philosophical threads have been developing for several centuries. A
Professor named Eugene Hargroves began a journal he named Environmental Ethics
in the late 1970s in which controversies regarding environmental behaviour and
visions could be discussed. This name became an umbrella for a group of strange
bedfellows. A controversy had begun in 1974 when an Australian named John
Passmore published a book called "Man`s responsibility for nature: ecological
problems and western traditions" in which he argued that environmental
preservation and concern was inconsistent with western tradition. Robin
Attfield replied 1983 in a book entitled "The ethics of environmental concern"
by holding that the stewardship tradition was more important than dominion in
western thought, and that this is what forms the foundation for environmental
ethics. Environmental ethics is a collection of independent ethical
generalizations, not a tight, rationally ordered set of rules.
Environmental ethics will be a compilation of interrelated independent
guidelines - a process field that will be coming together for a long time.
Ethics really flow from peoples perceptions, attitudes and behaviour - as in
the case of environmental ethics and animal liberation. Like chess, decision
making in life is very perceptual or intuitive - by analogy, there are l)
favourite formations (of players or arguments); 2) empirical investigation of
these (with maximum and minimum expectations); which leads to a progressive
deepening of perspective.
The problem is only dimly perceived in the beginning, but becomes clearer
with thought and re-examination. What holds a chess game together is not the
rules but the experience the individual player. A grand master at chess sees
more on a chessboard in a few seconds than an average player sees in thirty
Environmental ethics today encompasses a diverse, not necessarily related,
1. Animal rights.
2. The Land Ethic.
4. Deep Ecology.
5. Shallow Ecology.
6. The rights of rocks, and so forth.
Bioethics could be defined as the study of ethical issues and decision-making
associated with the use of living organisms and medicine. It includes both
medical ethics and environmental ethics. Rather than defining a correct
decision it is about the process of decision-making balancing different
benefits, risks and duties. The word "bioethics" was first used in 1970,
however, the concept of bioethics is much older, as we can see in the ethics
formulated and debated in literature, art, music and the general cultural and
religious traditions of our ancestors.
Society is facing many important decisions about the use of science and
technology. These decisions affect the environment, human health, society and
international policy. To resolve these issues, and develop principles to help
us make decisions we need to involve anthropology, sociology, biology,
medicine, religion, psychology, philosophy, and economics; we must combine
the scientific rigour of biological data, with the values of religion and
philosophy to develop a world-view. Bioethics is therefore challenged to be a
multi-sided and thoughtful approach to decision-making so that it may be
relevant to all aspects of human life.
The term bioethics reminds us of the combination of biology and ethics,
topics that are intertwined. New technology can be a catalyst for our
thinking about issues of life, and we can think of the examples like assisted
reproductive technologies, life sustaining technology, organ transplantation,
and genetics, which have been stimuli for research into bioethics in the last
few decades. Another stimulus has been the environmental problems.
There are large and small problems in ethics. We can think of problems that
involve the whole world, and problems which involve a single person. We can
think of global problems, such as the depletion of the ozone layer
which is increasing UV radiation affecting all living organisms. This problem
could be solved by individual action to stop using ozone-depleting chemicals,
if alternatives are available to consumers. However, global action was taken to
control the problem. The international convention to stop the production of
many ozone-depleting chemicals is one of the best examples yet of applying
universal environmental ethics.
Another problem is greenhouse warming, which results mainly from energy
use. This problem however can only be solved by individual action to reduce
energy use, because we cannot easily ban the use of energy. We could do this by
turning off lights, turning down heaters and air conditioners, building more
energy efficient buildings, shutting doors, and driving with a light foot.
These are all simple actions which everyone must do if we are concerned about
our planet, yet not many do so. Energy consumption could be reduced 50-80% by
lifestyle change with current technology if people wanted to. New technology
may help, but lifestyle change can have much more immediate affect.
Environmental ethics is a relatively new field - and the name
"environmental ethics" derives from Eugene Hargrove`s journal, which was begun
in late 1970s.
This field - environmental ethics, - will be subsumed as other areas of
applied ethics develop more fully. The early pieces or threads of
environmental ethics were disconnected...one needs a quick review to fully
comprehend today`s "whole" - and know the directions in which the threads lead.
Environmental ethicists as well as policy-makers, activists etc. frequently
speak about the need for preservation of various parts of nature. Two main
grounds are repeatedly presented for this need:
1. Our moral responsibilities to future human beings (sometimes called
sustainable development) require that we stop using technology and science for
short-term gains at the expense of long-term risks of very negative ecological
effects for future people. In several official declarations and
policy-documents this idea has been expressed as "the precautionary principle",
roughly the idea that we should not use particular means of production,
distribution etc. unless they have been shown not to effect too serious risks.
However, it is far from clear what is meant by this. What determines whether or
not the effecting of a certain risk (in order to secure some short-term gain)
is too serious or not? - and what determines whether or not this has been
"shown"? Some traditional decision-theorists would say that it is a question of
traditional instrumental efficiency (i.e. rationality) in relation to morally
respectable aims. Some ethicists would instead claim that it is a question of
whether or not the severity of the scenario illustrating an actualization of
the risk in question makes the taking of this risk morally wrong in itself.
Others, yet, hint that they want to take a stand in between these two extremes,
however, without specifying what this could mean. There is also a rather grim
debate regarding whether or not it can ever be shown that a certain
action does not effect too serious risks, and this of course depends on what
requirements should be laid on someone who purports to show such a thing. In
both cases, the questions seem to boil down to basic issues regarding what is
required of risky decisions in order to make them morally justified. But,
obviously, it must be a kind of moral justification different from the one
dealt with by traditional ethical theories of the rights and wrongs of actions,
since these only deal with justification in terms of actual outcomes, not in
terms of risks for such outcomes.
2. Natural systems possess a value in themselves which makes them worth
preserving also at the expense of human well-being and man-made constructs.
This idea is less common in official documents than the former (although it is
explicitely set out as a part of the basis of the Swedish Environmental Policy
Act) than it is among environmental philosophers and ethicists. However, also
this idea is far from clear, since it is not clear neither how a natural
system is to be distinguished from a non-natural one and why this difference is
to be taken as morally relevant, nor why preservation is the only
recommendation which follows from the placing of an intrinsic value in nature.
Although there are several suggestion on what it is that makes certain systems
intrinsically valuable, it is has not been sufficiently explained, first, why
these characteristics (typically complexity, self-preservation/replication,
beauty etc.) do not justify preservation also of systems normally not taken to
be natural (such as metropolitan areas, hamburger restaurants or nuclear
power-plants), secondly, why this value does not imply a recommendation to
reshape rather than preserve natural systems, in order to increase the
presence and magnitude of the value-making characteristics. In particular, it
seems to be a challenge for a preservationist to argue in favour of restoration
of certain biotic variants, without leaving the door open also for reshaping,
for example by the use of modern biotechnology.
The aim of this research-project is to attack these two families of issues,
both connected to the justification of common ideas regarding the importance
of preserving various parts of nature. In one part (carried out by christian
menthe), the project will be aimed at mapping out moral intuitions regarding
the moral responsibility of the taking of risks, in order to use these for
developing a normative theory of the morality of risk-taking which can be
used to underpin a more specific version of the precautionary principle. The
other part of the project is instead aimed at systematically reviewing
various proposals (and new home-made to how to distinguish between that (i.e.
nature)) which should typically be preserved according to preservationists
and that which does not need to be so preserved, and to resist the conclusion
that reshaping of nature might be a better idea from the point of view of
typically preservationist values than actual preservation. The focus here
will be on ideas ascribing a value in itself to nature or certain natural
1. Charles Birch and John B. Cobb, Jr., The Liberation of Life: From the
Cell to the Community (Denton, Tex.: Environmental Ethics Books, 1990), 357
2. Yrjo Sepanmaa, The Beauty of Environment: A General Model for
Environmental Aesthetics, 2d ed. (Denton, Tex.: Environmental Ethics Books,
1993), 191 pages.
3. John B. Cobb, Jr., Is It Too Late? A Theology of Ecology, rev. ed.
(Denton, Tex.: Environmental Ethics Books, 1995), 112 pages.
4. Eugene C. Hargrove, Foundations of Environmental Ethics (reprint ed.,
Denton, Tex.: Environmental Ethics Books, 1996), 229 pages.
5. Robin Attfield, The Ethics of Environmental Concern (Denton, Tex.:
Environmental Ethics Books, 1983), 237 pages.