Notes_Paul Taylor_The Ethics of Respect for Nature
b/g: environmental ethics question that's relevant here: What determines the rightness or wrongness of human actions that affect the natural environment?
What is Taylor trying to do in this essay? Justify a biocentric (Life-Centered) over a anthropocentric (human-centered) system of environmental ethics. We justify a biocentric view by show how its rational to adopt the “fundamental moral attitude” that underlies this view.
Human Centered and Life-Centred Systems of Environmental Ethics
What are these two systems of environmental ethics?
Whether or not an action that affects the natural environment is right or wrong is determined by the consequences it has on the well-being of humans.
Duties are only directly owed to other humans.
Duties are owed to the environment only insofar as the actions affect humans.
We have no obligation to promote the good of non-human beings independent of how our treatment of them affects the realization of our own good.
We have direct moral obligations to non-human life.
We ought to promote the good of non-human life for their own sake.
(more on this view later)
The Good of Being and the Concept of Inherent Worth
Point: Clarify the “moral attitude” that underlies the life-centered system of ethics. Justifying adopting this moral attitude will, in turn, justify this system.
Two central claims that define the biocentric moral attitude:
1. Every organism, species population, and community of life has a good of its own which humans (moral agents) can intentionally further or damage by their actions. What does it mean for X to have a “good of its own”? (325) What is the good of a tree, lizard, shrimp, cheetah,......
2. Every organism, species population, and community of life has inherent worth. What's inherent worth? Involves two principles:
principle of moral consideration:...
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