Utilitarianism and Preservation

Katz, Eric
Environmental Ethics Vol. 1/4 (1979), pages 357-364

In “The Concept of the Irreplaceable,” John N. Martin claims that utilitarian arguments can explain the environmentalist position concerning the preservation of natural objects as long as human attitudes toward preservation are considered along with the direct benefits of environmental preservation. But this type of utilitarian justification is biased in favor of the satisfaction of human preferences. No ethical theory which calculates goodness in terms of the amount of human satisfaction can present an adequate justification of environmental preservation. Since human interests must be considered primary, natural objects will only be preserved when their preservation is in accord with human preferences.

Minimal, Moderate, and Extreme Moral Pluralism

Wenz, Peter S.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 15/1 (1993), pages 61-74

Concentrating on the views of Christopher Stone, who advocates moral pluralism, and J. Baird Callicott, who criticizes Stone’s views, I argue that the debate has been confused by a conflation of three different positions, here called minimal, moderate, and extreme moral pluralism. Minimal pluralism is uncontroversial because all known moral theories are minimally pluralistic. Extreme pluralism is defective in the ways that Callicott alleges and, moreover, is inconsistent with integrity in the moral life. However, moderate pluralism of the sort that I advance in Environmental Justice is distinct from extreme pluralism and free of its defects. It is also consistent with Callicott’s version of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, which is itself moderately pluralistic.