05 Callicott and Env Ethics

Information about 05 Callicott and Env Ethics

Published on January 15, 2008

Author: Vincenza

Source: authorstream.com

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Environmental Ethics:  Environmental Ethics Robert Streiffer, Ph. D. Department of Philosophy, School of Letters and Sciences Department of Medical History and Bioethics, Medical School Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine http://philosophy.wisc.edu/streiffer/ ; [email protected] Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Value:  Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Value X is instrumentally value =def X is valuable merely because it is useful as a means to something else that is valuable. X has intrinsic value =def X is valuable in itself. That is, it is valuable, but not merely because it is useful as a means to something else that is valuable. Theories of Intrinsic Value:  Theories of Intrinsic Value Egoism: Only I have intrinsic value. Everything else has value only insofar as it is useful as a means to the satisfaction of my interests. Traditional Humanism: Presently living human beings are the only things that have intrinsic value. Protracted Humanism: Present and future human beings are the only things that have intrinsic value. Theories of Intrinsic Value:  Theories of Intrinsic Value First Phase Extensionism (Sentientism): Conscious organisms are the only things that have intrinsic value. Second Phase Extensionism (Biocentrism): Living organisms are the only things that have intrinsic value The Untempered Land Ethic (Radical Ecocentrism): Ecosystems are the only things that have intrinsic value. The Tempered Land Ethic (Ecocentrism): Ecosystems and living organisms are the only things that have intrinsic value. Criteria for Evaluation:  Criteria for Evaluation Consistency: self-consistency; consistency with modern science, esp. evolution and ecology Adequacy: Does it adequately address the moral problems raised by the environmental crisis? Practicability: Can one actually live according to the ethic? Humanism:  Humanism Rene Descartes argued that only human beings are conscious because only human beings have language and reason. And because he thought that only human beings are conscious, nothing non-human had any intrinsic value. First-Phase Extensionism: Sentientism:  First-Phase Extensionism: Sentientism Jeremy Bentham: “The morally relevant question about animals is not, Can they reason? or Can they talk? But can they suffer?” First-Phase Extensionism: Sentientism:  First-Phase Extensionism: Sentientism Research on animal cognition supports what most people believe they know simply on the basis of common sense and personal experience, namely that many animals are sentient, and hence, conscious. Gary Varner (1998) “[T]he authors of the most detailed treatments of the issue to date … have all reached the same conclusion: while all vertebrates can probably feel pain, most invertebrates probably cannot (the notable exception being the cephalopods).” Joel Feinberg’s Interest Principle:  Joel Feinberg’s Interest Principle If X does not have any interests, then X does not have any intrinsic value. If something does not have any interests, then “A fortiori, [it has] no interests to be protected by legal or moral rules. Without interests a creature can have no “good” of its own, the achievement of which can be its due. [Things without interests] are not loci of value in their own right, but rather their value consists entirely in their being objects of other beings’ interests.” Joel Feinberg’s Critique of Biocentrism and the Land Ethic:  Joel Feinberg’s Critique of Biocentrism and the Land Ethic If X does not have any mental states, then X does not have any interests. “Interests are compounded out of desires an aims, both of which presuppose something like belief, or cognitive awareness. ” By the Interest Principle, it then follows that if X does not have any mental states, X does not have any intrinsic value. Not all living organisms have mental states. Ecosystems never have mental states. Hence, biocentrism and the Land Ethic are false. Kenneth Goodpaster’s Defense of Biocentrism:  Kenneth Goodpaster’s Defense of Biocentrism It is possible to benefit or harm a plant. To benefit a thing is to promote it’s interests; to harm a thing is to set back its interests. Hence, if it is possible to benefit or harm X, then X has interests. Hence, plants have interests. But plants don’t have mental states. Hence, it is false that if X does not have any mental states, then X does not have any interests. Callicott’s Critique of Sentientism:  Callicott’s Critique of Sentientism Predators Sentientism requires “the (humane) phasing out of predators from nature,” which “would not only be inadequate but, from an ecological point of view, actually nightmarish.” (400) Rare and endangered species “rare and endangered species are provided no special, preemptory status,” even though “species extirpation and extinction is today widely recognized as the single most pressing problem among the spectrum of problems collectively called the environmental crisis.” Callicott’s Critique of Sentientism:  Callicott’s Critique of Sentientism Plants and invertebrates “So plants and invertebrate animals, the vast amjority of earth’s living denizens, remain mere means to e managed for the good of the morally privileged class of sentient or subject-of-a-life animals.” (397) Domesticated versus wild animals “Most environmentalists regard the intrusion of domestic animals into natural ecosystems as very destructive and therefore prima facie contrary to an environmental ethic,” but sentientism “does not discriminate between the value of domestic and wild animals, since both are equally sentient.” (400) Callicott’s Critique of Biocentrism :  Callicott’s Critique of Biocentrism Rare and endangered species “…Nor can his theory even theoretically provide preferred moral standing to a specimen of endangered species, since its conations can count for no more than the conations of a specimen of a plentiful species. (402) Domesticated vs. wild animals “A community of rare wildflowers, for example, would deserve no more considreation than a monoculture of corn plants or soybeans, since any plant is as conative as any other.” (402) Callicott’s Critique of Biocentrism :  Callicott’s Critique of Biocentrism Impracticable “when every living thing is extended moral considerability, then moral standing becomes so diluted as to be practically meaningless. Either one must starve oneself to death, since even to eat vegetables is to violate the interests of some living things, or one must continually live in a condition of hypocrisy or bad faith.” (402-403) Callicott’s Positive Proposal :  Callicott’s Positive Proposal Ecosystems have interests. Inclusively extend intrinsic value to those interests Do so, while also attending to the interests of individual living organisms. Callicott’s Positive Proposal :  Callicott’s Positive Proposal The Economy of Nature Metaphor: The ecosystem is similar to human socioeconomic communities Species = professions (producer, consumer, decomposer) Specimens = individuals who occupy those professions Environmental degradation = economic depression Solar energy = currency Callicott’s Positive Proposal :  Callicott’s Positive Proposal The Biotic Community Metaphor: The ecosystem is similar to a living organism Species = organs that perform functions Specimens = cells and tissues that make up the organs Environmental degradation = diseases, toxins, surgery

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