Hoffman and Derr

Topics: Meaning of life, Natural environment, Human Pages: 2 (806 words) Published: July 23, 2012
Hoffman and Derr are both authors who have strong feelings about environmental ethics. They both make pretty strong arguments; however, they disagree on some points. In this essay I will further explain on what basis these authors disagree. Hoffman argues that nature has intrinsic value meaning it has value in and of itself. He is supportive of the bio centric ethic which includes all things which are alive or are integral parts of the ecosystem as deserving moral consideration. Hoffman is very critical of the homocentric view which believes that the environment is only as valuable as we make it. Meaning that things are based deemed valuable only if they are beneficial to human well being and development. Hoffman associates the homocentric view to “human chauvism” which would argue that human beings are the only subjects of moral consideration and have intrinsic value. Hoffman refers to Routley’s “last man” example (375) to further explain his point. In this example we are to suppose we are the person alive and we are ordered to destroy all life. The last tree would continue to live and grow if we don’t destroy it, and there is no punishment if we don’t destroy it. The biocentric view holds that if we find something wrong with destroying the tree that we are responding to an intrinsic value in the object, not a value that we give it. This would support that the tree has value in and of itself because it exists. Derr would argue that there is no intrinsic value present, and that we ourselves produce the value. Nature is only valuable because we find it to be of value. Something can provide value to someone and in that sense it has value. Derr says that “The mere fact that that we value studying a particular thing does not make that thing intrinsically valuable; it makes it valuable for us.” (382)

Derr is also against the biocentric view and shares a Christian view of nature. Derr argues that there are too many consequences of biocentrism. Biocentrism in its...
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