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Reasons and Values in Environmental Ethics

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Ever since environmental ethics (EE) began to take form as an academic discipline in the early 1970s, the notion of intrinsic value has occupied a prominent position within the field. Recently, however, various types of critique have emerged within EE against invoking this notion. Contrary to these critiques, I argue that appeals to intrinsic value are not problematic, given the reason-implying sense of 'intrinsic value' that is most relevant to EE. I further argue that also those who criticise 'intrinsic-value-talk' in EE actually need this reason-implying concept of intrinsic value. However, once we realise that this is the sense of 'intrinsic value' that is most relevant to EE, it also becomes clear that it is the concept of a reason, rather than that of intrinsic value, that is most important to EE.
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Keywords: anthropocentrism; environmental ethics; intrinsic value; moral standing; reasons

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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 a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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