Analysis: "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments"

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Katie Cafferky
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Analysis: "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments"
"Save the Planet," "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," "Go Green." Quotes like these have become a commonality in today's age. We all are familiar with the large efforts to help preserve the environment. In "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments," Thomas E. Hill Jr. sums up his essay by stating, "The point is not to insinuate that all anti-environmentalists are defective, but to see that those who value such traits as humility, gratitude, and sensitivity to others have reason to promote the love of nature" (688; par. 4) This excerpt provides the thesis behind Hill's argument. The author found that it is difficult to make a convincing argument to show that destroying the natural environment is immoral, so he raised a different question that aims towards the person who commits the act and not the act itself. He wanted to explore what committing these acts revealed about a person's character (682; par. 3). In response to Hill's dissertation, I came to an unexpected conclusion. While I normally feel that arguments such as this are frivolous and a waste of time, Hill's argument got me thinking in a different way. In the beginning, I was on the opposing end of his critique. However, throughout the reading, there was a gradual shift in my thinking that led me towards Hill's viewpoint. By the end of the essay, I found that I agreed with the author. Several key points in the reading support and give merit to his thesis. These claims provide a basis to my reasons for supporting Hill's argument.

First, it is important to note Hill's claim that, "...though indifference to nonsentient nature does not necessarily reflect the absence of virtues, it often signals the absence of certain traits which we want to encourage because they are, in most cases, a natural basis for the development of certain virtues" (683; par. 3)....
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