Methodology is understood here to include methods, approaches, and styles, which are not always easy to separate. This article deals with all three, focusing on ones that have been influential in Australasia, or have developed there, through the efforts of thinkers who have either been born in Australasia, or trained or worked there for a significant period.
Environmental ethics is the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents. This entry covers: (1) the challenge of environmental ethics to the anthropocentrism (i.e., humancenteredness) embedded in traditional western ethical thinking; (2) the early development of the discipline in the 1960s and 1970s; (3) the connection of deep ecology, feminist environmental ethics, and social ecology to politics; (4) the attempt to apply (...) traditional ethical theories, including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, to support contemporary environmental concerns; and (5) the focus of environmental literature on wilderness, and possible future developments of the discipline. (shrink)
Globalization is hailed by its advocates as a means of spreading cosmopolitan values, ideals of sustainability and better standards of living all around the world. Its critics, however, see globalization as a new form of colonialism imposed by rich countries and transnational corporations on the rest of the world, a process in which the rhetoric of sustainability and equality does not match the realities of exploitation and impoverishment of people and nature. This paper endorses neither view. Globalization is not new, (...) but it continually produces new challenges for conceptions of 'home' and 'belonging'. While some enthusiasts regard the 'liberal' and 'environmental' values of the West as the best remedy for what is wrong with the world, others argue that a resource for resisting the destructive effects of globalization may be found in the sense of identity and importance of place found in the traditional scientific and medical traditions of both India and China. Instead of trying to merge these two views in some grand synthesis, this paper argues that traditional conservative and modern liberal values should continually interact with each other to produce novel ideas in debates about home, place and belonging. (shrink)
Luc Faucher, Steve Stich and others have argued in their "Baby in the Lab Coat" argument that the birth of modern science can be explained by postulating certain psychological and socio-cultural mechanism, including ones that relate to the difference between how Asians and Europeans think. This paper shows that their history of science is skewed and that there are better ways to account for the rapid growth of modern science in the seventeenth century than the mechanisms they posit.
The search for 'ecological insights' in venerable Asian traditions of thought prompts questions about how such traditions understood humans in relation to nature. Answers which focus on philosophical and religious ideas may overlook culturally important understandings of people and places articulated within scientific and medical thinking. The paper tentatively explores the prospects for gleaning a form of ethics of place from the study of traditional Hindu and Chinese medical sources. Although there are serious problems with the idea that any unadulterated (...) assimilation from other traditions can take place, these sources can be thought of as incorporating a place-centred (topocentric) ethic. By looking closely at Francis Zimmerman's study of Hindu medicine, it is argued that a poetics of place can be ascribed to Ayurvedic discourses on health and disease. It may be possible to associate a similar poetics with classical Chinese medical worldviews, these being reconcilable with-though not the same as-contemporary ecological understandings of humans in relation to the world. Although no pristine reconstruction of Asian traditions of medical thought can be made, the conclusion of the present paper is that it would be wrong to dismiss these traditions as 'antienvironmental', based purely on the study of philosophical and religious texts. (shrink)
The paper proposes two ideas: (1) The wilderness preservation movement has failed to identify key elements involved in situations of environmental conflict. (2) The same movement seems unaware of its location within a tradition which is both elitist and Puritan. Holmes Rolston's recent work on the apparent conflict between feeding people and saving nature appears to exemplify the two points. With respect to point (1), Rolston's treatment fails to address the institutional and structural features which set the agenda for individual (...) human lives. The human ecology of environmental destruction cannot ignore the role of corporate actors such as banks, national governments, transnational corporations, trade unions and so on. These agents interact with each other in various ways and also have an internal structure – perhaps akin to Arthur Koestler's conception of the holarchy - which enables people working within them to avoid taking responsibility for policies that have damaging environmental consequences. As far as thesis (2) is concerned, Rolston's work shares common features with Arne Naess's deep ecology and Aldo Leopold's land ethic. All of these writers draw, perhaps unconsciously, on a tradition of sporting elitism associated with the Great White Hunter. One variety of this tradition combines elitism with a form of Puritanism. (shrink)
Environmental literacy is not encouraged by discipline-based education. Discipline-based education is damaging not only because it breaks the link between experience and theory but also because it encourages learners to believe that complex practical problems can be solved using the resources of just one or two specialist disciplines or frameworks of thought. It is argued that discipline-based education has been extremely successful, and its very success is a factor which explains some of our poor thinking about environmental problems. These problems (...) are highly complex, and it is important for learners to discover the limitations of particular frameworks of thought and disciplinary approaches. This is particularly important in the case of economics. An education which emphasises the limitations of specialist approaches to complex problems can also be used to help overcome the depersonalising effect of bureaucracies. (shrink)
Cost-benefit analysis makes the assumption that everything from consumer goods to endangered species may in principle be given a value by which its worth can be compared with that of anything else, even though the actual measurement of such value may be difficult in practice. The assumption is shown to fail, even in simple cases, and the analysis to be incapable of taking into account the transformative value of new experiences. Several kinds of value are identified, by no means all (...) commensurable with one another – a situation with which both economics and contemporary ethical theory must come to terms. A radical moral pluralism is recommended as in no way incompatible with the requirements of rationality, which allows that the business of living decently involves many kinds of principles and various sorts of responsibilities. In environmental ethics, pluralism offers the hope of reconciling various rival theories, even if none of them is universally applicable. (shrink)
Best?candidate theories of identity have been accused of absurdity. In my response to Garrett, I argue that my four?dimensionalist reconstruction of best?candidate theories allows the appearance of absurdity to be explained, while Garrett's own defence of the position leaves the demand for such explanation unsatisfied. I also argue against the assumption that three?dimensionalists can give a satisfactory account of unity or change.
Addressing many topics in epistemology and metaphysics, this treatise sets out a new theory of the unity of objects, and discusses personal identity, the metaphysics of possible worlds, the continuity in space time, and the nature of philosophical theorizing.
Attacks on ?closest continuer? and ?best candidate? theories of identity have something correct in them while still failing to discredit the theories they oppose. What follows from Noonan's and Wiggins's objections to such theories is that they need to be so formulated as not to deny the necessity of identity. The best metaphysics for best?candidate theories to adopt is one in which everyday objects are taken to transcend, in a certain sense, their life histories in given worlds. This metaphysics also (...) has the potential for solving problems about contingent identity, transworld identity, and the issue of haecceitism or individual essence. To develop the metaphysics, it is only necessary to follow through the analogy between worlds and times suggested by writers like Plantinga and Schlesinger. (shrink)
Human beings are, as far as we know, the only animals to have moral concerns and to adopt moralities, but it would be a mistake to be misled by this fact into thinking that humans are also the only proper objects of moral consideration. I argue that we ought to allow even nonliving things a significant moral status, thus denying the condusion of much contemporary moral thinking. First, I consider the possibilityof giving moral consideration to nonliving things. Second, I put (...) forward grounds which justify this extension of morality beyond its conventional boundarles. Third, I argue that natural objects have a status different from a special dass of artifacts -works of art. Fourth, I discuss the notion of interest, and fifth I look brietly at the status of natural systems and at ways we might link the proposed extension of moral considerability with the rest of our moral thinking. (shrink)
Parfit argues that survival, Not identity, Is the important thing in cases of personal resurrection, Fission, Etc. I argue that parfit's and dennett's well known cases--And fantasies about cloning and telecloning--Suggest a distinction between type and token persons, Memories, Intentions, Etc. Parfit is wrong, I suggest, To think survival more determinate than identity; with quine I hold that there is no objective matter to be right or wrong about.