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The Map of Moral Significance: A New Axiological Matrix for Environmental Ethics

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One main issue within environmental ethics is the so-called Demarcation Problem, i.e. the question of which entities are members of the moral community and hold intrinsic value. I argue that the demarcation problem relies mainly on Kantian moral philosophy. While the Kantian framework offers a strong and immediately deontological argument for moral agents holding inherent moral values, it presents problems when stretched beyond its original scope and lacks an adequate ground for addressing relational complexity and the moral significance of collectives. In this paper I outline an alternative axiological framework ('map of moral significance') that relies on a relational ontology and encompasses intrinsic and relational values as the two equipollent axes of a matrix in which to embed the question posited by the Demarcation Problem.

Keywords: axiology; demaracation problem; eudaimonistic ethics; moral matrix; relational values

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2011

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 (2014) of 1.056.
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