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The Morality of Ecosabotage

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Environmental ethicists rarely discuss the morality of using illegal tactics to protect the environment. Yet ecosabotage (or monkeywrenching) is the topic of numerous articles and books in the popular press. In this paper I examine what I consider to be the three strongest arguments against destroying property as a means of defending the environment: the social fabric argument, the argument for moral consistency, and the generalisation argument. I conclude that none of them provides an a priori obstacle to a consequentialist justification of particular acts of ecosabotage. Then I sketch a version of constrained utilitarianism, which is capable, at least in principle, of justifying some acts of strategic ecosabotage in a democratic society.

Keywords: argument; consistency; ecosabotage; justification; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-08-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2015) of 1.311.
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