Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
Environmental Ethics (2/3)
Baxter sets up his introduction in the first 3 pages before he gets to what he needs
The four stiteria are the fundamental basis for doing environmental ethics
1 : Sphere of freedom is that every person should be free to do what he wishes but
his actions must not interfere with other human beings. We all have the right to do whatever we
want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.
2 : Waste is a bad thing means we should respect the environment.
3 : Every human should be regarded as an end rather than as a means to be used
for the bettermenthof another.
Baxter explains his position
1) No other position corresponds to reality and how people think.
2) This attitude does not portend any mass destruction of the environment, animals, and
plants. *Wants to set the stage that he’s not for the destruction of the environment
3) What is good for humans is good for animals and plans. Humans are surrogates for
animal and plant life
4) There cannot be any other system and only humans can be afforded an opportunity to
partake in collective decisions.
5) How exactly can we count the preferences of animals and plants? How can a person
speak for animals and plants? Baxter believes the things in the environment should not be
included in our utilitarian calculus.
6) What ought we do? Questions of ought are unique to the human mind and world, but they
are meaningless to the non-human world, so we cannot include animals and plants.
“I reject the proposition that we ought to respect the ‘balance of nature’ or to ‘preserve the
environment’ unless the reason for doing so is the benefit of humans.” – basically stating
whatever is good for us is good for animals and plants, but whatever is bad for us is probably bad
for animals and plants. Baxter believes there is no right or morally correct state of nature because
the moment humans have set foot on earth, the state of nature has immediately changed. Baxter
does believes there are better and worse states of environment degradation, but he doesn’t
believe we can go back to a utopian balance of nature. Baxter really wants to answer what level
or state of nature is both goo