Against Biospherical Egalitarianism

French, William C.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 17/1 (1995), pages 39-57

Arne Naess and Paul Taylor are two of the most forceful proponents of the principle of species equality. Problematically, both, when adjudicating conflict of interest cases, resort to employing explicit or implicit species-ranking arguments. I examine how Lawrence Johnson’s critical, species-ranking approach helpfully avoids the normative inconsistencies of “biospherical egalitarianism.” Many assume species-ranking schemes are rooted in arrogant, ontological claims about human, primate, or mammalian superiority. Species-ranking, I believe, is best viewed as a justified articulation of moral priorities in response to individuals’
or entities’ relative ranges of vulnerability and need, rooted in their relative ranges of capacities and interests.

The Historical Foundations of American Environmental Attitudes

Hargrove, Eugene C.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 1/3 (1979), pages 209-240

John Passmore has claimed that American environmental attitudes are incompatible with Western traditions and Western civilization: they arose out of a Romantic transvaluation of values in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and today are defensible only in terms of antiscientific nature mysticism and Oriental religions. I argue that these attitudes developed out of an intricate interplay between Western science and art over the last three centuries, and are, therefore, of Western, not Eastern, origin. Moreover, they are a part of scientific and aesthetic changes so broad and fundamental that, despite Passmore’s prediction that they are unlikely to survive into the twenty-first century, they cannot be regarded lightly as a passing fad, and probably have already found a permanent place in Western thought and values.

Why Psychology Is Mute about the Environmental Crisis

Kidner, David W.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/4 (1994), pages 359-376

Psychology, often defined as the science of human behavior, has so far had little to say about the environmental destruction which is currently occurring as the result of human behavior. I consider the reasons why it has not and suggest that the ideological preconceptions that underpin the discipline are similar to those of the technological-economic system that is largely responsible for degradation of the environment. Psychology, by normalizing the behavioral, life-style, and personality configurations associated with environmental destruction, and lacking a historical perspective on changes in consciousness and technology, is unable to contribute effectively to the ecological debate. I conclude that the discipline needs to locate itself historically and ideologically before it can offer an adequate analysis of environmental destruction.

The Institutionalization of the Ethics of “Non-Injury” toward All “Beings” in Ancient India

Jacobsen, Knut A.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/3 (1994), pages 287-301

The principle of non-injury toward all living beings in India was originally a rule restraining human interaction with the natural environment. I compare two discourses on the relationship between humans and the natural environment in ancient India: the discourse of the priestly sacrificial cult and the discourse of the renunciants. In the sacrificial cult, all living beings were conceptualized as food. The renunciants opposed this conception and favored the ethics of non-injury toward all beings (plants, animals, etc.), which meant that no living being should be food for another. The first represented an ethics modelled on the power that the eater has over the eaten while the second attempted to overturn this food chain ethics. The ethics of non-injury ascribed ultimate value to every individual living being. As a critique of the individualistic ethics of noninjury, a holistic ethics was developed that prescribed the unselfish performance of one’s duties for the sake of the functioning of the natural system. Vegetarianism became a popular adaptation of the ethics of non-injury. These dramatic changes in ethics in ancient India are suggestive for the possibility of dramatic changes in environmental ethics today.

Dōgen, Deep Ecology, and the Ecological Self

Curtin, Deane
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/2 (1994), pages 195-213

A core project for deep ecologists is the reformulation of the concept of self. In searching for a more inclusive understanding of self, deep ecologists often look to Buddhist philosophy, and to the Japanese Buddhist philosopher Doμgen in particular, for inspiration. I argue that, while Doμgen does share a nondualist, nonanthropocentric framework with deep ecology, his phenomenology of the self is fundamentally at odds with the expanded Self found in the deep ecology literature. I suggest, though I do not fully argue for it, that Doμgen’s account of the self is more sympathetic to one version of ecofeminism than to deep ecology.