Elisha Westrick Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics

It has often been said that it is morally wrong to pollute and destroy parts of the natural environment and to also consume large amounts of the set number of natural resources that the earth has to offer. There is a difference between instrumental value and intrinsic value (also known as non-instrumental value). Instrumental value is the value of things as means to further some ends, whereas intrinsic vale is the value of things as end in themselves, regardless whether they are useful as means to other ends.

In 1970, when environmental ethics emerged as a sub-discipline of philosophy, it brought upon a challenge to traditional anthropocentrism. It began by questioning the moral superiority of human beings to members of other species on the earth. It also questioned the posibility of rational arguments for intrinsic values to the natural environment and its nonhuman contents.

Although environmental ethicist try to distance themselves from the anthropocentrism traditional views, they do often draw their theoretical resources from the traditional ethical system and theories. The Consequentialist ethical theories consider the intrinsic valule (or disvalue) and the goodness(or badness) to be more fundamental moral notions compared to the rightness(or wrongness). They try to determine whether the action was right or wrong based on its consequences and whether they were good or bad.

Even though a variety of different positions have been developed over the years, most of them have to deal with the issues concerned with the wilderness and the reasons as to why it should be perserved. Environmental philosophers have emphazied the the importance of wilderness experience to the human psyche.

Unfortunately, the focus on the value of the wilderness and its presveration has overlooked another imporatant problem, that being that a higher standard of living is in demand and that woodlands and mountains are becoming the area of building. Wilderness lovers sometimes consider the high human population as a key problem underlying the environmental crisis. Sometimes being compared to "Cancer". The remark was meant to justify that saving the nature, should, in some cases, be more important than feeding people.

My Summary:
Overall, the environment is something that needs to be protected and saved. This article can be connected to the themes that have been discussed in class for two reasons. The first one is that the article discussed the Ulitinarian view on the subject, and also discussed the Deontological view on the subject. The ulitinarian focuses on the pain and pleasure of something. Since Singer reguards the animal liberation movement as comparable to the liberation movements of women and people of colour. Unlike the environmental philolsphers who attribute the intrinsic value to the natural environment and its inhabitants.

Deontoligists maintain that the wheter the action is right or wrong, for the most part, independent of wheter its consequences are good or bad. The deontoligists believe that there are several distinct rules or duties. For instance, Regan argues that animals have a right to be treated respectfully reguardless whether or not some better consequences ever flow from them.

Questions
1. Why is it considered morally wrong to use the environment? Wasn't it put here for us to use?
2. Today, who are the philosophers that are speaking out about the environmental ethics? What are they saying? Are they basing their views off of other philosophers in the past?
3. Since it is important to save our earth, in this low economic time, shouldn't we be more concerned with creating new jobs on the un-used land, and then worry about saving the environment?

ANSWERS/OPINIONS TO QUESTIONS:
3. I believe that we should be more considered about creating job and building, buildings non un used land. I believe that it is more important to get the economy up rather then trying to save the Earth. But then again we can creat more jobs on un-used land and also "save" the Earth as well. Just because we are building more work places does not mean we can't still recycle, walk/ride bikes, and many other things. To conclud emy thoughts I do think that we should be worried about jobs before saving our planet. I think that this is very logical and makes the most sense.
Amanda Rollins

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