Environmental Ethics

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Taylor

Taylor's view is that the actions of humans impact everything living on this planet. He thinks that this life-centered approach is very important to take because, "…all living things, not just humans, have inherent worth."

There is no doubt that human beings are the superior beings of the Earth. I believe it is this superiority that has lead people to take a human-centered view when it comes to environmental ethics. To adopt Taylor's life-centered view would be easier said than done. It would require people as a whole to completely restructure their priorities and the means that they use to pursue them. Although human superiority is that has influenced people to take a human-centered approach to the world, I believe that it is our superiority that not only enables us, but makes it our prime facie duty to make sure we act in a manner that benefits the environment as a whole, because other organisms don't have the same capacity for abstract though that humans do. Therefore they are unable to analytically modify their behavior so that it will benefit all species instead of just them or their own species. As Taylor put it, "…only humans can be afforded an opportunity to participate in the collective decisions." Humans truly are the masters of this planet, and that is why we have the greatest ability impact the well-being of all other organisms that share the planet with us, for better or for worse.

As Taylor points out, one of the most difficult pieces in adopting a life-centered system of environmental ethics is determining the worth of each different life form and the value of increasing that life forms well-being. This problem is similar to trying to do a cost-benefit analysis of the death penalty. How many guilty lives equal the life of one innocent? Likewise, how many sea otter lives does it take to justify the death of one human? Which life forms deserve to be protected the most? Regardless of how you rank the importance of...
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