In his paper The Opposite of Human Enhancement: Nanotechnology and the Blind Chicken problem (Nanoethics 2:305–316, 2008) Paul Thompson argues that the possibility of disenhancing animals in order to improve animal welfare poses a philosophical conundrum. Although many people intuitively think such disenhancement would be morally impermissible, it’s difficult to find good arguments to support such intuitions. In this brief response to Thompson, I accept that there’s a conundrum here. But I argue that if we seriously consider whether creating beings (...) can harm or benefit them, and introduce the non-identity problem to discussions of animal disehancement, the conundrum is even deeper than Thompson suggests. (shrink)
This collection gathers classic, influential, and important papers in environmental philosophy ranging from the late 1960s and early 1970s to the present. The volumes explore environmental ethics, epistemological, metaphysical, and comparative worldview questions raised by environmental concerns. The set also represents a genuinely global and international focus, and includes a full index and new introductions by the editors.
This paper explores the idea of 'respect for nature' in the Earth Charter. It maintains that the Earth Charter proposes a broadly holistic environmental ethic where, in situations of conflict, species are given ethical priority over the lives of individual sentient organisms. The paper considers policy implications of this perspective, looking by means of example at the current European environmental policy dispute about the ruddy and white-headed duck. Questions about the value of species and biological diversity this raises are explored. (...) The paper concludes that the principle of valuing individual animal lives should be given more prominence in Earth Charter principles. (shrink)
Urbanization and development of green spaces is continuing worldwide. Such development frequently engulfs the habitats of native animals, with a variety of effects on their existence, location and ways of living. This paper attempts to theorize about some of these effects, drawing on aspects of Foucault's discussions of power and using a metaphor of human colonization, where colonization is understood as an "ongoing process of dispossession, negotiation, transformation, and resistance." It argues that a variety of different kinds of human/animal power (...) relations can exist in urban areas, not all of which are examples of human domination. The paper concludes by raising a number of questions about the implications of these human/animal relations. (shrink)
This paper explores the usefulness of the 'ethical matrix', proposed by Ben Mepham, as a tool in technology assessment, specifically in food ethics. We consider what the matrix is, how it might be useful as a tool in ethical decision-making, and what drawbacks might be associated with it. We suggest that it is helpful for fact-finding in ethical debates relating to food ethics; but that it is much less helpful in terms of weighing the different ethical problems that it uncovers. (...) Despite this drawback, we maintain that, with some modifications, the ethical matrix can be a useful tool in debates in food ethics. We argue that useful modifications might be to include future generations amongst the stakeholders in the matrix, and to substitute the principle of solidarity for the principle of justice. (shrink)
I explore how some aspects of Foucoult’s work on power can be applied to human/animal power relations. First, I argue that because animals behave as “beings that react” and can respond in different ways to human actions, in principle at least, Foucoult’s work can offer insights into human/animal power relations. However, many of these relations fall into the category of “domination,” in which animals are unable to respond. Second, I examine different kinds of human power practices, in particular, ways in (...) which humans construct animal constitutions and animal subjectivities. Finally, I use a case study of a pet cat to show how such power practices may come together in a single instance. (shrink)
In this study, Clare Palmer challenges the popular conception that process thinking offers an unambiguously positive contribution to the philosophical debate on environmental ethics. She critically examines the approach to ethics which may be derived from the work of process thinkers such as A. N. Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, pointing out questions about justice and respect for individual integrity which are raised. With these questions in mind, she compares process ethics to a variety of other forms of environmental ethics, as (...) well as deep ecology. This comparative study reveals a number of difficulties associated with process thinking about the environment. Although some reformulations of process philosophy in the light of these difficulties are offered, the author suggests that a question mark should remain over the contribution which process philosophy can make to environmental ethics. (shrink)