Top-Rated Free Essay

Ethics and Moral Reasoning

Powerful Essays
Environmental ethics: is known as the discipline in philosophy that focuses on studying the moral relationship of human beings and our status of value with the environment and its nonhuman contents. Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world. It exerts influence on a large range of disciplines including environmental law, environmental sociology, eco-theology, ecological economics, ecology and environmental geography.
What you will be learning in the following chapters.
• (1) Introduction: The Early Development of Environmental Ethics
• (2) The Challenge of Environmental Ethics -Animals -Organisms -Species
• (3) Wilderness, the Built Environment, Poverty and Politics
• (4) Feminism and the Environment

(1) Introduction: The Early Development of Environmental Ethics: If putting out natural non man made fires, culling animals and or killing off some individual members of overpopulated indigenous species was necessary for the protection and the integrity of a certain ecosystem. Would these actions be legal morally permissible or even required? Is it morally acceptable for farmers in non-industrial countries to practice “slash and burn” techniques to clear areas for agriculture? Beginning in the early 1960s, the questioning and rethinking of the relationship of human beings with the natural environment reflected an already widespread perception in that the late twentieth century faced a “population time bomb” and a serious series of environmental crisis. Historian Lynn White Jr, wrote an article called “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, on a much-cited essay published in 1967 on the historical roots of the environmental crisis argues that the main strands of Judeo-Christian thinking had encouraged the overexploitation of nature by maintaining the superiority of humans over all other forms of life on earth, and by depicting all of nature as created for the use of humans. White 's thesis is widely discussed in theology, history, and has been subject to some sociological testing as well as being regularly discussed by philosophers.

According to White, the Christian idea that was thought to be that all humans are created in the image of God, who is radically separate from nature, also by extension radically, separates humans themselves from nature.

(2) The Challenge of Environmental Ethics: the call for a “basic change of values” in connection to the environment reflected a need for the development of environmental ethics as a new sub-discipline of philosophy. This meant (a call that could be interpreted in terms of either instrumental or intrinsic values). It has always been said that humans have been the number one cause of pollution and the destruction of earth. We as humans have consumed a huge portion of the planets resources. Is this correct human behavior? Maybe we as humans have grown into an uncontrollable population. This is a question being investigated by environmental ethics.
• Animals- Whatever matters to animals, matters morally. These nonhumans do not share with humans the capacity to reason or talk, but they do share the capacity to suffer, and human ethics can be extended to our animal cousins. There are ample scientific grounds that animals enjoy pleasures and suffer pains; and ethically no grounds to value these in humans and not in animals. Yet, to treat wild animals with the compassion learned in culture does not appreciate their wildness. Compassionate respect for life in its suffering is only part of the analysis. Sometimes in an environmental ethic we need to follow nature, and not so much to treat animals humanely. Part of the ethic may also involve treating them naturally. If only human beings have moral standing, then it follows that if I come across a bear while out camping and shoot it dead on a whim, I do no wrong to that bear. Of course, an anthropocentric ethic might claim that I do some wrong by shooting the bear dead – perhaps shooting bears is not the action of a virtuous individual, or perhaps I am depleting a source of beauty for most other humans but because anthropocentrism states that only humans have moral standing, then I can do no wrong to the bear itself. However, many of us have the intuition that this claim is wrong. Many of us feel that it is possible to do wrong to animals, whether that be by shooting innocent bears or by torturing cats. Of course, a feeling or intuition does not get us very far in proving that animals have moral standing
• Organisms- An organism is a spontaneous, self-maintaining system, sustaining and reproducing itself. In this sense, its genome is a set of conservation molecules, a normative set; it distin­guishes between what is and what ought to be. The organism is not a moral system, but the organism is an axiological, evaluative system. So the oak grows, reproduces, repairs its wounds, and resists death. Value is present in this achievement. Every organism has a good-of-its-kind; it defends its own kind as a good kind. There seems no reason why such normative organisms are not morally significant.
• Species- A species exists; a species ought to exist. In an evolutionary ecosystem, it is not mere individuality that counts, but the species is also significant because it is a dynamic life form maintained over time. The species line is the vital living system, the whole, of which individual organisms are the essential parts. The dignity resides in the dynamic form; the individual inherits this, exemplifies it, and passes it on. If at the specific level these processes are just as evident or even more so, what prevents duties arising at that level? The appropriate survival unit is the appropriate level of moral concern.

(3) Wilderness, the Built Environment, Poverty and Politics: The variety of positions in environmental ethics has developed widely over the last thirty years, mostly focusing on wilderness concerns and ways on how to conserve it. The importance of the environment is huge for preserving human life. The importance of its preservation has been overlooked by another important problem, life styles in which woodland mountaineering can be indulged demand a standard of living that is far beyond most of the human’s dreams. Now there is a new range of moral problems that have opened up. This includes environmental costs for tourist access to wilderness areas. Humans can be like a cancer to the environment in well-populated areas.

(4) Feminism and the Environment: feminist issue is any that contributes in some way to understanding the oppression of women. Sheila Collins (1974) argued that male-dominated culture is supported by four basic interlocking pillars: class exploitation, racism, sexism, and ecological destruction. Collins emphasized the importance of feminism to the environmental movement with various liberation movements during her time. This represented racial challenges for environmental thinking. But because of the many disagreements among the feminist’s theories, this label has fallen from use. One of the areas where ecofeminism is found lacking in the traditional paradigm of social movements is the area of action. The common view is that social movements engage in protest and direct action; however, ecofeminism calls for consciousness raising, healing, and a communion with nature. There is little direct action. Some call for concern and to be involved in crucial issues. Others call for intellectual work to form a holistic conception of ecofeminism. Furthermore, there is no group of ecofeminists, no declared leader, and no vague form of organized activity other than a few intellectual conferences and books. A few organizations have included the word "ecofeminism" in their title, such as Ecofeminists for Animal Rights, but they are not a subgroup of the larger Ecofeminists. In addition, most groups that can be identified as ecofeminist in nature do not identify themselves as ecofeminist.

References
Hill, T. (1983). Ideals of human excellence and preserving natural environments. Journal of Environmental Ethics, 5(3), 211-24. Retrieved from http://www.umweltethik.at/download.php?id=403
Moyer, B. (Interviewer), & Berry, W. (Interviewee). (2013). Wendell Berry on his hopes for humanity [Video file]. Retrieved from http://billmoyers.com/segment/wendell-berry-on-his-hopes-for-humanity
•White, L., 1967. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, Science, 155:1203-1207
•Collins, S., 1974. A Different Heaven and Earth, Valley Forge: Judson Press

Multimedia
USDA NRCS ENT SC. (2012, Sep. 20). Under cover farmers – feature length [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWXCLVCJWTU
Mercola. (2012, Aug. 1). Dr. Mercola discusses pigs with Joel Salatin at polyface farm [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjBtZxlkEDw

References: Hill, T. (1983). Ideals of human excellence and preserving natural environments. Journal of Environmental Ethics, 5(3), 211-24. Retrieved from http://www.umweltethik.at/download.php?id=403 Moyer, B. (Interviewer), & Berry, W. (Interviewee). (2013). Wendell Berry on his hopes for humanity [Video file]. Retrieved from http://billmoyers.com/segment/wendell-berry-on-his-hopes-for-humanity •White, L., 1967. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, Science, 155:1203-1207 •Collins, S., 1974. A Different Heaven and Earth, Valley Forge: Judson Press Multimedia USDA NRCS ENT SC. (2012, Sep. 20). Under cover farmers – feature length [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWXCLVCJWTU Mercola. (2012, Aug. 1). Dr. Mercola discusses pigs with Joel Salatin at polyface farm [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjBtZxlkEDw

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Ethics and Moral reasoning

    • 1222 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Facing Life While Fighting For an End Tabitha Price Ashford University Course: PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning Instructor: Rachael Howell 4/7/2014 Facing Life While Fighting For an End Every one of us will stare down the face of death at some point in our lives; however, some will face it in much more unpleasant circumstances then others. We all have a right to choose what we want to do with our bodies. We even have the right to decide that we no longer wish to endure the pain and suffering…

    • 1222 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    | Socrates Understanding | Beverly Melcher | Ethics and Moral Reasoning: PHI 208 Dione Johnson | | 3/3/2013 | Socrates Understanding The concept of holiness emerges into the dialogue when Socrates is trying to find out how to address the gods in a proper way. He is also trying to find out the definition of piety and impiety from the gods point of view. The reason for this is so that the man, Meletus, who feels that he is bring justified charges against Socrates to the gods, because…

    • 594 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Moral Reasoning

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Abstract Business ethics is the behavior that business sticks to in its every day relations with the world. However, it applies not only to how the business interacts with the world in whole, but also to dealings with a single customer and even to internal actions. Every organization should include good business ethics. Moral reasoning is integral part of business ethics. L. Kohlberg determined three levels of moral development that consists of six stages. The stages of Kohlberg 's model relate…

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Moral reasoning

    • 978 Words
    • 3 Pages

    1: MORAL REASONING Short Essay: Moral reasoning is individual or collective practical reasoning about what, morally, one ought to do. For present purpose, we may understand issues about what is right or wrong, virtuous or vicious, as raising moral question. When we are faced with moral questions in daily life, just as when we are faced with child-rearing questions, sometimes we act impulsively or instinctively and sometimes we pause to reason about what we ought to do. Much of our reasoning comes…

    • 978 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    End of Life Issues Jermaine N. Hairston PHI 208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning Craig Thompson May 12, 2014 Euthanasia means “good death” but today the term is deemed as a merciful action to rid someone of suffering. In many cases we have seen terminally ill patients euthanized active or passive, yet for the sake of my essay I will discuss active euthanasia. End of life issues is a topic many families are faced with everyday more than one likes to imagine; however, imagine that you…

    • 1769 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Kantian Ethics and Ethics of Care in Feminism Moral Reasoning I would choose to use a feeding tube on Rosemary if I am her doctor since her Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) order is not really applicable in her current situation. Usually people sign DNAR to deny intensive life-extending medical treatments and to avoid suffering from unnecessary pain at the end of his/her own life, however Rosemary is not dying but “listless and non-communicative” in this case and the feeding tube here…

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning Richard Moyer July 7, 2014 Even though living in pain can be a physical and emotional toll on a person’s life, no one can judge or comment on it without knowing how it feels, but choosing to end your life for this cause is ethically wrong. A person should not be able to choose between life and death like it is something normal that we do every day. Dying is not the answer to a person’s problems, pains, or sufferings. Now a day technology and medicine are highly…

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Influence of Moral Reasoning Bryan Gordon CRT 205 December 23, 2012 Influence of Moral Reasoning After reading the article “Fury Returns to Penn State” by Frank Fitzpatrick, the person I selected to write about is the ex-assistant coach Mike McQueary. Mike Queary witnessed Jerry Sandusky doing something horrible to a minor one night in the school locker room. With this knowledge, McQueary talked to his father about the incident then informed his superior, Joe Paterno, about what he witnessed…

    • 337 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Influence of Moral Reasoning Author CRT 205 Date Daniel Lichtenhan Influence of Moral Reasoning During the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse investigation, evidence that other Penn State officials knew about what had occurred and attempted to cover up the abuse by keeping the information secret. The top official Graham Spanier, president of Penn State at the time, bears the greatest responsibility for not reporting the crime. Spanier had decided after conferring with the vice president…

    • 381 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Moral Reasoning Notes

    • 1149 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Midterm Exam Wednesday October 2012 Moral Reasoning Test format and point distribution: * 5 matching (2 points each) * 20 multiple choice questions (1 point each) * 2 essays (5 points each) Format for Essay Questions:You will be given a moral dilemma and asked to apply either Utilitarianism or Kant’s moral theory to the situation Things to consider when applying the ethical theories Utilitarianism: For utilitarianism, you need to remember that we are concerned with the greatest…

    • 1149 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays