Spinoza's environmental ethics

Inquiry 23 (3):293 – 311 (1980)
Abstract
The paper explores an apparent tension in Spinoza's thought between his treatment of man as part of nature, with no specially privileged position within it; and his treatment of morality as circumscribed by what is good for human beings. These two themes, it is argued, are in fact interconnected in Spinoza's thought. The paper goes on to consider some possible responses, from a contemporary standpoint, to Spinoza's rejection of animal rights. Finally, it is argued that the apparent tension in Spinoza's thought becomes more understandable in the light of his treatment of the importance of truth to human beings; and that this throws into relief some puzzling features of some contemporary formulations of the theme of man as part of nature
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