Phil261 Midterm 1
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- Humanity has dominion over nature
- Western Religion
- Two main themes: Science/Technology and Religion
- Roots of western science and technology began in agriculte with the plow (communal food growing)
- Religion (Christianity): nature lost its "sacredness" and humans were separated from nature with dominon over it
- Solution? St. Francis "Brother Ant and Sister Fire
- 2 Broad Ethical Principles:
- Dont destroy: sabbatical years, respect for human made artifacts
- Treatment of lower animals: "day of rest" for work animals, on same level as humans, humane slaughter
- Stewardship view
- Textual evidence in Jewish tradition that can be read in a much more friendly way than we imagine
- Utilitarian: widescale contraceptives for deer, we should reduce all suffering in nature
- Apply agrument for equality of women to horses and dogs
- Ability to suffer is needed for having interests
- "If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering of any other being"
- Noticed an overlap between environmental suffering and animal suffering concerns
- Cares more about individual animals
- If we want to really minimize total sufering, healthy ecosystems involve a large amount of suffering
- So we cant have healthy ecosystems and non-suffering of individual animals at the same time
- EX saving a seal from a polar bear
- Biocentric Individualism
- Non-human animals have interests because they have the ability to feel pain
- Mental State Theory of Individual Welfare: A desires X or would if they were sufficently informed and A's best interest is to get X
- Alternative Mental State Theory: Psycho-Bological Theory: A desires X or would if they were informed and X serves some biologically based need of A
- Implications: must start including plants
- Advantages: expanding the sphere of moral concern and need is easier to identify then consciousness
- Drawbacks: what is left to eat? Can become extreme
- Ground Projects
- Hierarchy of Interest
- World of non-conscious living things is better than a world devoid of all life
- Expansion of legal (not just moral) consideration
- Natural objects are not currently considered under our legal system
- Need not be "made whole" (restored to orignal conditions)
- Natural objects have no standing, no rights/interests
- Hollistic View
- Emergent properties that arise out of complex systems are greater than the sum of their parts
- San Clemente goats
- Suffering is built into nature
- Biological entity has a "process of value" by resisting death (extinction) and regeneratting (replacing memebers who have died)
- Organ ecosystem analogy
- New kind of value: systemic (benefits system as whole)
- "Duties arise in encounters with the system that projects and protects these memeber componants in biotic communities"
- "A comprehensive environmental ethics reallocates value across the whole continuum. Value increases in the emergent climax but is continuously precent in the composing precedents. The system is valuable, able to produce value"
- For some people at least, the sharp is-ought dichotomy is gone; the values seem to be there as soon as the facts are fully in, and both values and facts seem to be alike properties of the system."
Stephen Jay Gould
- Species: a branch on the evolutionary bush
- Species change: not transformation of enture parental population but punctuated equilibrium
- Many people suppose species must be arbitary divisions of an evolutionary continuum in the same way that state boundaries are conventional divisions of unbroken land (Wrong)
- "Modern horses are discrete and separate from all other existing species, but how can we call the horse a real and definable entity if we can trace an unbroken genealogical series back through time to a dog-sezed creature with several toes on each foot?"
- "Our obligation must ultimately rest on the value (aesthetic) of individual members of certain species"
- Vanishing species should be treated the same as other species
- "Our duties to preserve a species cannot be grounded in obligations that we have toward individual animals"
- "Things have have aesthetic calue can be compared and ranked in some cases, and commitment of resources may be made accordingly"
- Rarity is not real because each species is unique
- "What a society takes to be a natural environment is one"
- "Rarity" is just a matter of perspective and advertising
- "The advertising that created rare environments can also create plentiful substitutes. The supply of special environments can be increased by the highlighting of significant and rare parts of what are commonly thought to be uninteresting environments"
- Aesthetic View
- Economist approach to environment
- People have environmental preferences about what they like depending on culture or what they're used to thinkning
- We have to decide what sorts of nature experiences people are going to want by what we make available and what we advertise
- We can do whatever we want to the environment and just get people excited about whats left
- "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise"
- Humans are equal part of nature
- Land as biotic mechanism moving energy
- Everything is interconnected, food webs, energy pyramid
- Land Health: capacity for self-renewal
- A-B Cleavage: land as slave vs land as biotica
- Humans should consider economic, ethical and aesthetic views
- Defense of Leopold's Land Ethic
- Evolutionary Theory: gives us something in common with other creatures
- Ecological Theory: we are all connected in energy circuit
- Copernican Astronomy: we are small planet in corner of the universe
- "Vortex Model": parts of an ecosystem always change but the shape remains the same (place holders)
- Benefits: pull away from aesthetic side of Leopold. Scientifically grounded
- Negative: environmental facism: community is all that matters so there are no individual rights
- Pragmatism: stop with inherent instrumental calue and just think about what types of policies we could actually pull off
- Suspend philosophical disagreements about where the values lie and focus on law making
- Multi-Scalar Approach: fits with saving all different aspects of the world so individual beliefs of what has value don't matter
- Now, middle future, far off and local, regional, global
Know the difference between anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric theories of environmental ethics. You should also know, where applicable, which sort of theory is represented by each of the authors listed above.
- Krieger: aesthetic value nature has is purely instrumental and only is good for the experiences is provides people that makes them happy
- Singer: individual things that are alive (emphasis on suffering)
- Varner: individual things that are alive (suffering doesnt matter, emphasis on biological needs and interests)
- Leopold: holistic ecological ecosystems are the fundamental unit of value
- Stone: living things and rivers and things like that
Know the basics of ethical theory: utilitarian, deontological (Kantian), and contract theories, and the nature of rights.
- Deontological: (kantian) relying on rules rather then consequences and categorical imperative
- Nature of Rights: these are things that if an entity has a right to something then it has that right even if the net consequence of providing it is negative. Also rights come from properties that we have. Some rights come as properties and others come from being autonomous and rational
- Contract Theories: idea that our moral obligations arise out of our implicit agreement that we have with our fellow people. Social contract idea
Know the significance of the is-ought distinction and the role it plays in moral argumentation.
- Humes Law: you cant get an ought from an is AKA you can deduce a value from a fact
- Must incorporate facts and values into an argument or judgment
- You should not be making claims on what you ought to be doing from what is
- People litter everyday, so I ought to too
Traditional Western Conception
- Judeo Christian
- Natural Beauty is a distraction
- Non-human animals don't matter
- Dominion View
- Practical, Religious, Economic, and Psychological
Rousseau's Romantic Primitivism
- Glorification of nature/wilderness
- Uncultivated nature (human and non-human)
- Emphasis on connecting humanity and nature
- Brother ant and Sister fire
Criticisms of Traditional Western Conception
- Gordis: textual evidence in Jewish tradition that don't exhibit the deeply rooted, problematic features of western perspectives
- Different interpretations
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