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Callicott’s Land Communitarianism

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Abstract:

In his most recent collection of papers, J. Baird Callicott has continued to advance a communitarian environmental ethic inspired by the mid–century “land ethic” writings of Aldo Leopold. One subject of concern is a dilemma. Either: the position is open to a charge of “eco–fascism” because it holds that only one maximal community fundamentally matters and interests of smaller communities and individuals can be swamped by a fundamental concern with the whole. Or: it is a “paper tiger” because it says that many communities fundamentally matter, but offers no advice about how we are settle prima–facie conflicts of obligations tied to our various communities. Callicott now offers two new second–order priority principles designed to steer the communitarian position through the dilemma. I outline the relevant parts of his new position. However, I argue that one of the principles ends up offering no coherent advice over the priority of the very communities that inspire interest in the position of Leopold. Callicott proposes that the more intimate and venerable of our communities should have priority, but these elements can come apart in the relevant cases

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5930.00214

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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