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Ethics & the Environment, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2001

ABSTRACTS

For a Grounded Conception of Wilderness and More Wilderness on the Ground
Philip Cafaro

Recently a number of influential academic environmentalists have spoken out against wilderness, most prominently William Cronon and J. Baird Callicott. This is odd, given that these writers seem to support two cornerstone positions of environmentalism as it has developed over the past twenty years: first, the view articulated within environmental ethics that wild, nonhuman nature, or at least some parts of it, has intrinsic or inherent value; second, the understanding developed within conservation biology that we have entered a period of massive anthropogenic biodiversity loss and that landscape-level habitat preservation is essential for combating this. I argue here that Cronon and Callicott are wrong. In fact, an ethics of respect for nonhuman nature and an informed, scientific understanding of what is necessary to preserve it do strongly support increased wilderness preservation.
The Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: 1960-2000--A Review
Bill Devall

Aarne Naess, in a seminal paper on environmental philosophy, distinguished between two streams of environmental philosophy and activism--shallow and deep. The deep, long-range ecology movement has developed over the past four decades on a variety of fronts. However, in the context of global conferences on development, population, and environment held during the 1990s, even shallow environmentalism seems to have less priority than demands for worldwide economic growth based on trade liberalization and a free market global economy.
While some perceptive writers predicted that the 1990s would be a "turnaround decade" and that society is moving into an "ecological paradigm," the evidence, at this time, for such a major shift in society is ambiguous at best.
Environmental Ethics, Animal Welfarism, and the Problem of Predation: A Bambi Lover's Respect for Nature
Jennifer Everett

Many environmentalists criticize as unecological the emphasis that animal liberationists and animal rights theorists place on preventing animal suffering. The strong form of their objection holds that both theories absurdly entail a duty to intervene in wild predation. The weak form holds that animal welfarists must at least regard predation as bad, and that this stance reflects an arrogance toward nature that true environmentalists should reject. This paper disputes both versions of the predation critique. Animal welfarists are not committed to protecting the rabbit from the fox, nor do their principles implicitly deprecate nature.
Beyond Uncertainties: Some Open Questions about Chaos and Ethics
Teresa Kwiatkowska

Lately, a new language for the understanding of the complexity of life (organism, ecosystem, and social system) has been developed. Chaos, fractals, dissipative structures, self-organization, and complex adaptive systems are some of its key concepts. On this view, reality is not the deterministic structure that Newton visaged, but rather, a partially unknown or at least unpredictable world of multiple possibilities. As the horizon of our knowledge of natural realities expands the emergent comprehensive perspective requires a radical reconstruction of both the concrete structure upon which human life is materially built and the symbolic structure that reason has schemed.

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