Ethics & the Environment, Volume 10, Number 1, Spring 2005
ON THE BACKS OF ANIMALS
Despite the fact that feminists have compellingly drawn connections between traditional
notions of reason and the oppression of women and nature, many animal ethicists fail to
deeply incorporate these insights. After detailing the links between reason and the
oppression of women and animals, I argue that the work of philosophers such as Tom Regan
and Peter Singer fails to reflect that what feminists have called is not the mere
inclusion of emotion, but a recognition of the inherent continuity between the two. To
ignore this continuity, I conclude, risks reinscribing the very suffering we seek to eliminate.
ANIMAL ETHICS AND INTEREST CONFLICTS
Animal ethics has presented convincing arguments for the individual value of
animals. Animals are not only valuable instrumentally or indirectly, but in
themselves. Less has been written about interest conflicts between humans and
other animals, and the use of animals in practice. The motive of this paper is
to analyze different approaches to interest conflicts. It concertrates on six
models, which are the rights model, the interest model, the mental complexity
model, the special relations model, the multi-criteria model, and the contextual
model. Of these, the contextual model is the strongest, and carries clear
consequences for the practical use of animals.
IS IT NATURAL TO DRIVE SPECIES TO EXTINCTION?
Mark A. Michael
Whether or not extinction caused by human activities is natural depends
on which sense of the term "natural" is under consideration. Given one
sense of that term which has some grip on the popular imagination, it is.
This suggests that at a minimum environmentalists should be very careful
about invoking "the natural" and related concepts such as "acting naturally"
when they propose moral principles. I argue here for the stronger claim that
the "natural" is either redundant and serves to obscure more than it brings
to light, or that it is bound up with a picture of the world which is
false, and so theoretically useless. Thus "the natural" can do no useful
theoretical work in a completely developed environmental ethic.
ALL ABOUT EVE
In this paper I examine and assess an important developing trend in
environmental ethics, environmental virtue ethics. I begin by providing
a thorough survey of influential and representative contributions to
environmental virtue ethics. Along with explaining these contributions
to environmental virtue ethics I discuss their various strengths and
weaknesses. In the second section I explain what I believe an environmental
virtue ethic needs to do to complement other perspectives in environmental
ethics. Then, using the best aspects of previously published work along
with some additional argument and analysis, I provide a concise portrait
of an environmental virtue ethic that combines the advantages of
Aristotelian virtue theory with the insights of contemporary environmental
ethics. The environmental virtue ethic that emerges from this analysis
and discussion is primarily a philosophical praxis. It provides a model
of living well in which an understanding of and a concern for the
environment human is constitutive of human flourishing. As a praxis
this environmental virtue ethic articulates an account of human
flourishing with a view to suggesting how a person can improve her
own life by working to preserve wild nature.