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.

Can and Ought We to Follow Nature?

Rolston, Holmes III

Environmental Ethics Vol. 1/1 (1979), pages 7-30

“Nature knows best” is reconsidered from an ecological perspective which suggests that we ought to follow nature. The phrase “follow nature” has many meanings.In an absolute law-of-nature sense, persons invariably and necessarily act in accordance with natural laws, and thus cannot but follow nature. In an artifactual sense, all deliberate human conduct is viewed as unnatural, and thus it is impossible to follow nature. As a result, the answer to the question, whether we can and ought to follow nature, must be sought in a relative sense according to which human conduct is sometimes more and sometimes less natural. Four specific relative senses are examined: a homeostatic sense, an imitative ethical sense, an axiological sense,and a tutorial sense.