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Environmentalism Article Readings Notes

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Ryerson University
PHL 306
Thomas Hart

Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism y The problem for environmentalism stems from the idea that species and ecosystems ought to be preserved for reasons additional to their known value as resources for human use y Animal liberationists have urged that we should take the suffering of sentient animals into account in ethical deliberationThey are also extending an old and familiar ethical doctrine namely utilitarianism to take account of the welfare of other individuals y If suffering is bad then it is bad for any individual who suffers y Species like trees mountains and salt marshes do not suffer nor do they experience pleasurepain bc evidently they do not have experiences at all and species by definition are taken to be a population of organisms connected by certain sorts of interactions y Environmentalistsanimal liberationists diverge on what might be called the nm question y A world with n sperm and m blue whales is far better than a world with nm sperm and 0 blue whales y Out of nothing nothing comes rational decisions require assumptions about what is true and what is valuable y If you are completely ignorant of values then you are incapable of making a rational decision either foragainst preserving some species y The extinction of any species impoverishes the biosphere but only by a little bitclaim made by environmentalists when asked the
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