Environmental ethics and nonhuman rights

Environmental Ethics 4 (1):17-36 (1982)
Abstract
If environmentalists are to combat effectively the continuing environmental decay resulting from more and more intense human exploitation of nature, they need a plausible and coherent rationale for preserving sensitive areas and other species. This need is illustrated by reference to two examples of controversies concerning large public projects in wilderness areas. Analyses of costs and benefits to presently existing human beings and the utilitarian theory which supports such theories are inadequate to provide such a rationale, as other writers have shown. A number of environmentalists have suggested that ascriptions of rights to nonhuman animals, plants, and other natural objects may provide the necessary rationale. I argue that such ascriptions can only be effective if they are supported by a general theory of rights. Although no such general theory is developed, I state four minimal conditions which must be fulfilled by all rights holders as entailments of the concept of a right and, hence, as necessary conditions on rights holding, regardless of the general theory of rights espoused. I then argue that no appeals to rights of nonhumans can simultaneously fulfill these four minimal conditions and, on the other hand, satisfy the need for a coherent rationale for environmental preservation. In the central argument of the essay I exploit the distinction between the concern of vegetarians and antivivisectionists who rest their case for animal rights on the analogy ofanimal suffering to human suffering and the concern of environmentalists to protect the integrity of holistic ecosystems. I then conclude that even if the case for nonhuman rights can be made convincingly, the rights defended are insufficient for the development of a complete and coherent rationale for environmental preservation
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,819
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

5 ( #234,882 of 1,099,997 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #190,060 of 1,099,997 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.