Multicentrism: A Manifesto

Weston, Anthony
Environmental Ethics Vol. 26/1 (2004), pages 25-40

The familiar “centrisms” in environmental ethics aim to make ethics progressively more inclusive by expanding a single circle of moral consideration I propose a radically different kind of geometry. Multicentrism envisions a world of irreducibly diverse and multiple centers of being and value—not one single circle, of whatever size or growth rate, but many circles, partly overlapping, each with its own center. Moral consideration necessarily becomes plural and ongoing, and moral action takes place within an open-ended context of negotiation and covenant. Much critical and constructive work, both in environmental ethics proper and in many related fields, is already multicentric in spirit. It needs to be drawn together into an explicit, alternative environmental-ethical “platform.”

Environmental Ethics as Environmental Etiquette: Toward an Ethics-Based Epistemology

Cheney, Jim; Weston, Anthony
Environmental Ethics Vol. 21/2 (1999), pages 115-134

An ethics-based epistemology is necessary for environmental philosophy—a sharply different approach from the epistemology-based ethics that the field has inherited, mostly implicitly, from mainstream ethics. In this paper, we try to uncover this inherited epistemology and point toward an alternative. In section two, we outline a general contrast between an ethics-based epistemology and an epistemology-based ethics. In section three, we examine the relationship between ethics and epistemology in an ethics-based epistemology, drawing extensively on examples from indigenous cultures. We briefly explore several striking implications of an ethics-based epistemology in sections four and five.

Before Environmental Ethics

Weston, Anthony
Environmental Ethics Vol. 14/4 (1992), pages 321-338

Contemporary nonanthropocentic environmental ethics is profoundly shaped by the very anthropocentrism that it tries to transcend. New values only slowly struggle free of old contexts. Recognizing this struggle, however, opens a space for—indeed, necessitates—alternative models for contemporary environmental ethics. Rather than trying to unify or fine-tune our theories, we require more pluralistic and exploratory methods. We cannot reach theoretical finality; we can only co-evolve an ethic with transformed practices.