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This is Environmental Ethics: An Introduction

Lee, Wendy Lynne

This is Philosophy


1. Auflage September 2022
336 Seiten, Softcover

ISBN: 978-1-119-12270-8
John Wiley & Sons

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Provides students and scholars with a comprehensive introduction to the growing field of environmental philosophy and ethics

Mitigating the effects of climate change will require global cooperation and lasting commitment. Of the many disciplines addressing the ecological crisis, philosophy is perhaps best suited to develop the conceptual foundations of a viable and sustainable environmental ethic. This is Environmental Ethics provides an expansive overview of the key theories underpinning contemporary discussions of our moral responsibilities to non-human nature and living creatures.

Adopting a critical approach, author Wendy Lynne Lee closely examines major moral theories to discern which ethic provides the compass needed to navigate the social, political, and economic challenges of potentially catastrophic environmental transformation, not only, but especially the climate crisis. Lee argues that the ethic ultimately adopted must make the welfare of non-human animals and plant life a priority in our moral decision-making, recognizing that ecological conditions form the existential conditions of all life on the planet. Throughout the text, detailed yet accessible chapters demonstrate why philosophy is relevant and useful in the face of an uncertain environmental future.
* Questions which environmental theory might best address the environmental challenges of climate change and the potential for recurring pandemic
* Discusses how inequalities of race, sex, gender, economic status, geography, and species impact our understanding of environmental dilemmas
* Explores the role of moral principles in making decisions to resolve real-world dilemmas
* Incorporates extensive critiques of moral extensionist and ecocentric arguments
* Introduces cutting-edge work done by radical "deep green" writers, animal rights theorists, eco-phenomenologists, and ecofeminists

This is Environmental Ethics is essential reading for undergraduate students in courses on philosophy, geography, environmental studies, feminist theory, ecology, human and animal rights, and social justice, as well as an excellent graduate-level introduction to the key theories and thinkers of environmental philosophy.

Acknowledgments x

About the Companion Website xii

Introduction: Environmental Ethics in the Era of

Ecological Crisis 1

One Planet, Many Worlds 1

The Time Is Now 4

Environmental Ethics Is about the Present and the Future 7

The Climate Crisis Is the Greatest Moral Challenge Humanity Has Ever Faced 10

We Can Change 14

Seven Basic Premises 17

Seven Key Objectives 20

Summary and Questions 22

Annotated Bibliography 24

Online Resources 25

1 Moral Principles and the Life Worth Living 30

1.1 Philosophy and the Environment 30

1.1.1 Philosophy and the Life Worth Living 30

1.1.2 The Precautionary Principle 35

1.2 Human Chauvinism versus Responsible Human-Centeredness 37

1.2.1 Human-Centeredness: Taking Responsibility 37

1.2.2 The Desirable Future 38

1.3 An Aerial View of Moral Extensionism 40

1.3.1 Is Moral Extensionism a Good Idea? 40

1.3.2 The Problem of Sentience 42

1.3.3 What Counts as a Living Thing? 44

1.3.4 Summary and Questions 49

Annotated Bibliography 50

Online Resources 54

2 Two Examples of Moral Extensionism: Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Their Critics 58

2.1 The Capacity to Suffer: The Utilitarian Extensionism of Peter Singer 58

2.1.1 What Is Moral Extensionism? 58

2.1.2 Peter Singer's Animal Liberation and the Principle of Equality 61

2.1.3 Weighing Interests and Predicting Consequences 64

2.1.4 Moral Extensionism and the Climate Crisis 67

2.1.5 How Do I Know a Thing Can Suffer? 68

2.2 "Subject-of-a-life": The Kantian Extensionism of Tom Regan 72

2.2.1 The Case for Animal Rights and Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative 72

2.2.2 A Subject-of-a-life 74

2.2.3 Whose Subject-of-a-life Matters? 82

2.2.4 Subjecthood, Intellectual Wherewithal--and Zombies 85

2.2.5 A Feminist Critique of the Subject-of-a-life Criterion for Moral Considerability 86

2.2.6 Summary and Questions 89

Annotated Bibliography 92

Online Resources 95

3 Two More Examples of Moral Extensionism: Christopher Stone, Holmes Rolston III, and Their Critics 99

3.1 The Rights of Trees: The "Moral Standing" Extensionism of Christopher Stone 99

3.1.1 Moral Extensionism, the Concept of "Wilderness," and Human Chauvinism 99

3.1.2 Do Trees Have Rights? The Portability of Moral Standing 106

3.1.3 Moral Standing versus Consequences/Rights versus Goals: What Matters More? 111

3.1.4 Moral Standing and the Concept of the Future 114

3.1.5 The Interests and Rights of the Voiceless 119

3.2 Respect for Life: The "Good of Its Own" Extensionism of Holmes Rolston III 123

3.2.1 Respect for Life and an "Ethic for Species" 123

3.2.2 Valuing the Threat of Extinction over the Capacity for Suffering 126

3.2.3 Is a "Species Line" a Living System? 131

3.3 Summary and Questions 133

Annotated Bibliography 136

Online Resources 138

4 Two Examples of an Ecocentric Ethic: Aldo Leopold, Arne Naess, and Their Critics 143

4.1 Human-Centeredness, Human Chauvinism, and Ecocentrism 143

4.1.1 Ecocentrism and the Limits of Moral Extensionism 143

4.1.2 Ecocentrism as Psychic Transformation and Moral Paradigm Shift 147

4.2 Aldo Leopold, Ecological Conscience, and the "Plain Citizen" 152

4.2.1 The Role of Language in Ecocentric Thinking 152

4.2.2 Scientific Knowledge and the Ecocentric Disposition 156

4.2.3 Thinking Like a Mountain, or Not 160

4.2.4 Ecocentrism, the Principle of Utility, and the Patriarchal Social Order 164

4.3 Arne Naess: Deep Ecology and the Eight-point Platform 168

4.3.1 The Eight-point Platform 168

4.3.2 The Ecocentric Dichotomy 176

4.4 The Authoritarian Politics of the Eight-point Platform 182

4.4.1 Ecocentric Tyranny and Human Population Control 182

4.4.2 Does Environmental Crisis Justify Ecocentric Policies or Laws? 185

4.4.3 Summary and Questions 190

Annotated Bibliography 194

Online Resources 198

5 From the Ecocentric Endgame to Eco-phenomenology 202

5.1 The Radicalized Ecocentrism of Derrick Jensen 202

5.1.1 Blow up the Dams 202

5.1.2 The Environmentalism of the Civilized 207

5.1.3 The Ethics of Human Population, of Life and Death 212

5.2 Worth: A Value Intrinsic to Living Things or a Weapon of Consent? 218

5.2.1 "We Are at War." 218

5.2.2 After the End 226

5.3 Why Experience Matters: John Dewey, David Wood, and Kath Weston 229

5.3.1 What Is Eco-phenomenology? 229

5.3.2 John Dewey and the Aesthetic in Experience 233

5.3.3 David Wood's Eco-phenomenology 238

5.3.4 Kath Weston: The Feel of Experience versus the Force of Principle 244

5.3.5 Animate Planet and the Menace of Moral Relativism 246

5.4 Eco-phenomenology and the Problem of Pseudoscience: Why Ethics Must Be Rooted in Knowledge 252

5.5 Summary and Questions 256

Annotated Bibliography 260

Online Resources 263

6 Environmental Justice: Ecological Feminism, Social Justice, and Animal Rights 268

6.1 Climate Change and Environmental Justice 268

6.2 Ecological Feminism: Intersectional Analysis and Environmental Justice 271

6.2.1 Environmental Crisis and Structural Inequality 271

6.2.2 Threads of Moral Extensionism and of Ecocentrism 274

6.3 Groundbreaking Frameworks: Karen Warren and Carol Adams 275

6.3.1 Laying Bare the Logic of Domination 275

6.3.2 The Naturalized Fictions that Imperil Us 279

6.4 The Logic of Domination, Nostalgia, Resentment, and Privilege: Jordan Peterson 280

6.4.1 Antithesis of "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living" 280

6.4.2 Sophism in Defense of Climate Change "Skepticism" 283

6.4.3 12 Rules for Life: Human Chauvinism, Speciesism, and Heteropatriarchy 285

6.5 Inseparable: Environmental Ethics and the Quest for Social and Economic Justice 288

6.5.1 The Deep Roots of the "Dominance Hierarchy" 288

6.5.2 Environmental Ethics and the Quest to De-naturalize the Logic of Domination 290

6.6 Human-Centeredness, the Aesthetic in Experience, and the Desirable Future 294

6.6.1 The Aesthetic Value of Natural Objects as a Vital Element of an Ecofeminist Ethic 294

6.6.2 The Standpoint of the Subjugated 299

6.6.3 We Must Do Better 302

6.7 Summary and Questions 302

Annotated Bibliography 306

Online Resources 310

Index 317
WENDY LYNNE LEE is a Professor of Philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught for 30 years. She is the author of more than 45 scholarly essays in areas such as philosophy of mind, feminist theory, non-human animal welfare, ecological aesthetics, and philosophy of ecology. She has contributed to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy and Oxford Bibliography and authored several books, including Eco-Nihilism: The Philosophical Geopolitics of the Climate Change Apocalypse.