Searching for intrinsic value: Pragmatism and despair in environmental ethics

Environmental Ethics 9 (3):231-241 (1987)
Abstract
Anthony Weston has criticized the place of “inttinsic value” in the development of an environmental ethic, and he has urged a “pragmatic shift” toward a plurality of values based on human desires and experiences. I argue that Weston is mistaken for two reasons: (1) his view of the methodology of environmental ethics is distorted: the intrinsic value of natural entities is not the ground of all moral obligations regarding the environment; and (2) his pragmatic theory of value is too anthropocentric and subjective for the development of a secure and reliable environmental ethic. The obligation to protect the natural environment should not be based on certain “correct” experiences of humans as they interact with wild nature
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