PHIL 1102 thEnvironment 1
November 26 , 2012
WEDNESDAY – NOVEMBER 28 TH
THURSDAY – NOVEMBER 29TH
Stats ch 13-14 study questions\
ROLLINS – PAGE 636
Don’t have to read past the first paragraph on 641
Ethics for humans, animals, environment
Doesn’t just include living things; also has mountains, rivers, etc.
Depending on view, you may consider only living things, or you may include non-living things.
Do we feel bad about destroying the landscape, using a lot of appliances, driving an RV?
WE CAN GO ABOUT SEEING THE ENVIRONMENT IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS:
1. Anthropocentric – if it helps us, it’s moral; if it hurts us, it’s immoral
2. Environment-centred – components of the environment have a separate intrinsic value
Mistreating the environment would affect human-life so it is therefore wrong.
Nature has a dependent value (it’s value is dependent on our needs)
o Instrumental value
o A means for our ends
Nature has no interests of its own
We have an obligation to treat the environment better, regardless of how it affects humans.
Independent moral-standing (or moral-status)
Nature has an intrinsic and independent value (it’s value is independent from our needs)
~50 year old view
It has a value on its own, whether or not it is in our interest.
Aboriginals don’t separate themselves from nature. They stress a sacred connection between human
beings and the earth. (Not 100% either view, but more geared toward environment-centred view)
Buddhists – i.e., everything has a soul (more geared-toward the environment-centred view)
Hard to philosophically justify this view
Does a mountain have its OWN value?
When exactly does an entity have interests of its own?
Biocentrism – all life is morally right
If a book doesn’t have interests of its own, why would rocks, plants, mountains have interests of their
Rollins says these views cannot be justified. Sentience is the capacity to feel or experience. What is it like to be
a possum drowning? It would be bad. What would it feel like for a tree to have its roots flooded? PHIL 1102 - Environment 2
November 26 , 2012
Two identical worlds without animals or humans. In one world, a lightning bolt hits a tree and kills it. In the
other world, nothing happens. If you think the first world is worse, you are environment-centred. If you think
they are equal worlds, you are a