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Environmental Ethics Today

Peter S. Wenz

Publication Date - 14 December 2000

ISBN: 9780195133844

368 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Journalistic style allows for detailed accounts of actual human dramas that manifest problems


Environmental Ethics Today is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the environment, our species, and species diversity. This wide-ranging introduction to major issues and questions in environmental ethics employs an accessible, journalistic style--featuring current facts, real controversies, individual stories, and a vivid narrative--that engages readers and gives meaning to abstract philosophical concepts. Topics discussed include pollution permits for corporations, medical experimentation on animals, genetic engineering, economic globalization, biodiversity, and much more. Theories and methods such as utilitarianism, contractarianism, and hermeneutics are introduced as needed to help readers understand and attempt to resolve environmental conflicts. The book considers the views of many thinkers including Father Thomas Berry, Wendell Berry, J. Baird Callicott, Jane Goodall, Garrett Hardin, David Korten, Aldo Leopold, Arne Naess, Val Plumwood, Daniel Quinn, Tom Regan, Holmes Rolston III, Vandana Shiva, Julian Simon, Peter Singer, and Karen Warren. An exceptional primary text for courses in environmental ethics and environmental values, Environmental Ethics Today is also excellent reading for general courses in moral problems, business ethics, environmental studies, and women's studies.

Table of Contents

    What Is Environmental Ethics?
    Environmental Ethics Under Attack
    Disturbing Trends in Human Health
    Future Generations
    World Trade
    Population Growth and Obligations to the World's Poor
    Obligations to Nonhumans
    Preview of Chapters
    1. Overpopulation, Markets, and Human Rights
    Overpopulation and Scarcity
    What Are Free Markets?
    Cornucopian Economics
    The Tragedy of the Commons
    Public Goods, Externalities, and Government Coercion
    Trading Pollution Permits
    A Market Approach to Overpopulation
    Lifeboat Ethics
    Psychological Egoism and the Possibility of Sharing
    Human Rights
    2. Energy, Economics, and Future Generations
    Global Warming and Future Generations
    Human Rights and the Futurity Problem
    Fair Contracts and Future Generations
    Environmental Tradeoffs and Cost-Benefit Analysis
    CBA and Increasing Scarcity
    CBA and Political Equality
    CBA and Future Generations
    3. Competing Human-Centered Values
    Environmental Hazards in the Third World
    How Much Money Is a Human Life Worth?
    Should Prostitution Be Legalized?
    Non-economic vs. Economic Anthropocentrism
    Aesthetic Values
    National Heritage
    Transformative Values and Future Generations
    Moral Pluralism
    Moral Relativism
    4. Animal Liberation and Utilitarianism
    Cruelty to Animals
    Animal Husbandry
    Rodeos and Bullfights
    The Replacement Argument
    Against Hedonism
    Preference Utilitarianism
    5. Animal Rights and Medical Research
    The Nature of Rights
    Immortal Souls and Rights
    Language, Abstract Thinking, and Rights
    Moral Personality and Rights
    Contracts and Rights
    An Animal's Right to Life
    The Benefits of Experiments on Animals
    Animal Rights vs. Animal Research
    Limited Animal Rights in Reflective Equilibrium
    Animal Research in Reflective Equilibrium
    6. Species Diversity and Gaia
    Massive Extinction of Species
    Causes of Extinction
    Why Do We Protect Endangered Species?
    Animal Rights vs. Species Preservation
    Species as Individual Living Things
    The Gaia Hypothesis
    From Science to Metaphor
    Metaphors and Moral Implications
    Mechanical and Organic Metaphors for Nature
    7. The Land Ethic
    Hunting Animals to Preserve Ecosystems
    The Nature of Ecosystems
    Does Hunting Help or Hurt Ecosystems?
    Why Value Ecosystems?
    Conflicting Moral Commitments
    Tigers and Elephants in the Third World
    8. Human Rights, Agriculture, and Biodiversity
    Poverty, Efficiency, and Human Rights
    Environmental Synergism
    The Benefits of High-tech Agriculture
    Specialization Leads to Preoccupation with Money
    Fouling Our Own Nest
    Sustainability Problems
    The Green Revolution
    Biodiversity and Human Welfare
    Anthropocentrism or Synergism?
    9. Ecofeminism and Environmental Justice
    From Feminism to Ecofeminism
    Women as Subordinate
    Indigenous People as Subordinate
    Nature as Subordinate
    Women and Nature
    Subordination of Minorities Encourages Pollution
    Subordination of Women, Environmental Degradation, and Overpopulation
    Subordination of Native Peoples Reduces Biodiversity
    10. Religion and Nature
    Should People "Play God?"
    The Master Interpretation of Christianity
    Hermeneutics and the Constitution
    Hermeneutics and the Bible
    Narratives, Grand Narratives, and Worldviews
    Naess' Deep Ecology
    Native American Religions
    The Stewardship Interpretation of Christianity
    The Citizenship Interpretation of Christianity
    11. Personal Choices, Consumerism, and Human Nature
    Consumerism vs. Synergism
    Justifications of Economic Growth
    High Consumption and Human Welfare
    Marketing Discontent
    Extrinsic Motivations and Their Limits
    Some Instrinsic Motivations
    Looking for Love
    Your Money or Your Life
    12. Public Policies, Efficiency, and Globalization
    The Need for Collective Action
    Subsidizing Inefficiency
    More Efficient Transportation
    Agricultural Policies
    Corporate Welfare and Campaign Finance Reform
    The Promise of Globalization
    Globalization and Human Misery
    The World Trade Organization, Environmental Protection, and Democracy
    Final Reflections--Is Optimism Justified?
    Conflicting Trends
    Fragmenting Societies
    We Are the World
    Value Nature and Limit Human Power
    Each chapter ends with a section on "Judgment Calls"