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Environmental Theories and ethics

Please explain how introducing several new environmental theories will affect (validate, modify, or change) our values and ethics. Please provide examples.

How would this create new perspectives and responsibilities?

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The anthropocentric approach is criticized for "limiting values to the human realm," for being biased toward the nonhuman world, and for its failure "to provide a satisfactory basis for a moral philosophy of ecological obligation" because it is concerned with human self-interest. These are the claims of supporters of the deep ecology perspective, who believe that intrinsic value should be extended to all of nature. An intrinsic value is "the worth a thing has in an end of itself." These values are good for their own sake. Examples of these values would be love and beauty. An instrumental value is the "worth a thing has an instrument to achieve a goal or end." Money would be an example of an instrumental value. Having money will allow a person the achieve the goal of a life of leisure. Lastly, nature means everything in our environment-the soil, the climate, and all living things.

Anthropocentrism maintains that only human beings have intrinsic value and that nonhuman animals and the rest of nature only have instrumental value. On the other hand, much of environmental philosophy argues that we should see the whole ecosystem as having intrinsic value. However, this claim of deep ecology is groundless because there is no useful purpose in attributing intrinsic value to non sentient beings. Furthermore, Aldo Leopold, a proponent of deep ecology, writes in his Land Ethic, " . . . a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it." In essence, he suggests that humans are equal to everything in nature.

One view, though, is that humans are not equal to everything in nature, for a variety of reasons. First, humans can be, and are, educated about nature and the natural world, and can do things to alter, preserve, or destory. For example, we can predict the weather in order to know how we will be affected by it. In turn, nature does not understand us. Also, humans know how to use natural resources. An illustration of this is that we get paper and wood for construction purposes from trees. On the contrary, nature does not use us. An opposition to these two justifications would be that human education and knowledge does not necessarily mean that humans are above nature. I do not agree with this. It is common sense that education and knowledge are power. More power equals to higher status. Therefore, humans are above nature. Finally, humans are capable of ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses how environmental theories validate, change, affect and modify moral views, values and ethics.