to value, namely, humans, though perhaps some nonhumans as well), there are things in the world that can be subjectively considered to be g intrinsically valuable (valued by a valuer for their own sake) through an i
* evolutionary extension of what counts as inclusively important among 2 a community of valuers. In the past what has been considered valuable for us has been restricted to other members of the human community £ (which has progressed from the empathetic bonds of the family to the ¡5 clan to the tribe to the town, and so forth); the next progression of this o evolution should be to consideration of nonhumans and ecosystems as similarly valuable. In Leopold's words, the next evolution of ethics should be to human-land relations. For Callicott, sorting out conflicts in value among competing demands from different communities that warrant our attention (for example, duties to our immediate families versus duties to ecosystems) requires adopting two second-order principles, ranking as higher our obligations to more intimate communities (such as our families in many cases) and to 'stronger interests' (such as duties to the preservation of endangered species).
In contrast, Rolston (see Rolston 1988, 1989, and 1994) argues that intrinsic values in nature are objective properties of the world. He does not claim that individual animals are unimportant (though he does not have strong qualms against the production and consumption of other animals; indeed, he even claims that meat eating is necessary to maintain our identity as a species). Rolston takes a position that is, initially at least, compatible with some form of individualism, arguing, similarly to Taylor, that every living organism has a telos from which we may derive a baseline form of intrinsic value. But different characteristics, such as the capacity for conscious reflection, add value to each organism. Along with this scheme of value he also offers arguments for the intrinsic value of species as well as ecosystems. For Rolston, there is a conceptual confusion involved in the claim that we could value individual organisms without valuing the larger wholes that produced them through evolutionary processes.
A further debate, brought on by the scope of holism, has evolved over the question of whether preservation of the environment should be grounded in a monistic foundation or whether a coherent ethical view of it can tolerate pluralism. Monists in environmental ethics generally argue that a single scheme of valuation is required to anchor our various duties and obligations in an environmental ethic (see, for example, Callicott 1990). This would mean that one ethical framework would have to cover the range of diverse objects of moral concern included under holism: other humans, other animals, living organisms, ecosystems, species, and perhaps even Earth itself. Such a view would have the advantage of generating a cleaner methodology for resolving disputes over conflicting obligations to and among these objects - itself a very worrisome problem, as an environmental ethic has a mandate covering many more competing claims for moral consideration than a traditional ethic.
Pluralists counter that it cannot be the case that we could have one ethical theory that covered this range of objects, either because the sources of value in nature are too diverse to account for in any single theory or because the multitude of contexts in which we find ourselves in different kinds of ethical relationships with both humans and nature demand a plurality of approaches for fulfilling our moral obligations (see, for example, Brennan 1988 and 1992). Accordingly, for Andrew Brennan, there is 'no one set of principles concerning just one form of value that provides ultimate government for our actions' (1992, 6). Such claims lead Callicott to charge pluralists with moral relativism.
While less a dogma than nonanthropocentrism and holism, argument over moral monism continues to push the evolution of the field, particularly over the issue of the relationship between theory and practice in environmental ethics. The debate over pluralism raises the question of how appeals concerning the welfare of the environment cohere with other issues in moral philosophy in particular situations. Many, if not most, cases of potential harm to the value of ecosystems are also cases of moral harm to human communities, which can be objected to for independent anthropocentric moral reasons. The literature on 'environmental justice,' the concern that minority communities often bear a disproportionate burden of environmental harms, such as exposure to toxic waste, is based on linking concerns about human health and well-being to environmental protection (see Schlosberg 1999). A truly pluralist environmental ethic would not be terribly concerned with whether the claims of harm to the interests of a minority community by the siting of a toxic-waste dump could or could not be based on the same scheme of value that would describe the harm done to the ecosystem by the dump. A pluralist ethic would be open to describing the harm to the ecosystem and to the human community in different though compatible terms for purposes of forming a broader coalition for fighting the dump (see Light 2002).
To conclude this section, a key set of debates - anthropocentrism versus nonanthropocentrism, individualism versus holism, subjective versus objective holism, and monism versus pluralism - have largely shaped the development of contemporary environmental ethics. At a minimum, the field is most clearly defined, though not always adequately > defended, through its rejection of anthropocentrism and its commitment r to holism. But the portrayal here of the varieties of this exchange has been ^ far from complete. Consistent with the connection to broader questions g in social and moral philosophy raised by the monism-pluralism debate, i
* an extensive literature has developed connecting environmental ethics 2 to feminism (for an overview of ecofeminism see Davion 2001), as have more restricted literatures on humanism (Brennan 1988), virtue theory £ (O'Neill 1993; Welchman 1999), pragmatism (Light and Katz 1996), com-¡5 munitarianism (de-Shalit 2000), and more nuanced understandings of o human self-interest (Hayward 1998). All of these alternative directions in the field have presented new challenges in metaethics and normative ethics, but they have also done something more. In their own ways they have all moved beyond the more abstract questions of the metaethical debates concerning nonanthropocentric intrinsic value in nature to provide, in John O'Neill's words, 'more specific reason-giving concepts and corresponding claims about the ways in which natural objects are a source of wonder, the sense of proportion they invoke in us of our place within a wider history' (2001, 174). [...]
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