In this essay, I consider three philosophical issues that arise in the environmentalsciences. First, these sciences depend on mathematical models and simulations which are highly idealized and are coupled with very uncertain data. Why should we trust these models and simulations? Second, in standard hypothesis testing, the burden of proof is in favor of the null hypothesis which claims some causal factor has no effect. The alternative hypothesis is accepted only when the likelihood of the null (...) hypothesis is very low. Recently, some have argued that we should minimize Type II errors (not rejecting a false null) rather than Type I errors (rejecting a true null) given the environmental risks involved. I consider arguments for shifting this burden of proof when possible environmental harms are significant. Finally, in debates over global climate change, much is made of the apparent consensus concerning the effects of human induced greenhouse gas emissions on average surface temperatures. However, scientific methods are structured around dissent and criticism. Is consensus-based science orthogonal are even harmful to science? (shrink)
This paper examines how ethically significant assumptions and values are embedded not only in environmental policies but also in the language of the environmentalsciences. It shows, based on three case studies associated with contemporary pollution research, how the choice of scientific categories and terms can have at least four ethically significant effects: influencing the future course of scientific research; altering public awareness or attention to environmental phenomena; affecting the attitudes or behavior of key decision makers; (...) and changing the burdens of proof required for taking action in response to environmental concerns. The paper argues that deliberative forums, research-ethics training, and conceptual work by environmental philosophers could all promote more ethically sensitive responses to these features of scientific language. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatism is a new strategy in environmental thought: it argues that theoretical debates are hindering the ability of the environmental movement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. This new direction in environmental philosophy moves beyond theory, advocating a serious inquiry into the practical merits of moral pluralism. Environmental pragmatism, as a coherent philosophical position, connects the methodology of classical American pragmatist thought to the explanation, solution and discussion of real issues.
As anxiety about environmental change and its effects grows, we need to understand both the scientific processes and the ethical and aesthetic judgments involved in deciding which changes we should welcome and promote and which we should try to avoid. In Environmental Philosophy Christopher Belshaw examines the current debates on the environment, focusing on questions of value while also taking into account relevant issues in epistemology and metaphysics. Beginning with an overview of current concerns, Belshaw locates our attitudes (...) toward the environment within their cultural and historical milieu. He then examines the various positions in detail, ranging from the moderate view that we ought to consider not only ourselves but also other animals, to the seemingly more extravagant contention that non-sentient life, rocks, deserts B indeed all of the processes of nature B should be considered intrinsically valuable. In later chapters Belshaw explores the importance of an aesthetic response to the environment, opening the way for a human-centred position that is both more generous and more flexible than those often advanced elsewhere. In contrast to many of its competitors, Environmental Philosophy challenges accepted dichotomies - man/nature, instrumental/intrinsic, green/non-green - and advocates conciliation rather than confrontation. Although the arguments are rigorous, the writing is clear and non-technical, making Environmental Philosophy an excellent survey for those engaging with these issues for the first time, as well as offering much to challenge the more advanced student. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemological and ethical issues at the foundations of environmental philosophy, emphasizing the conservation of biodiversity. Sahota Sarkar criticizes previous attempts to attribute intrinsic value to nature and defends an anthropocentric position on biodiversity conservation based on an untraditional concept of transformative value. Unlike other studies in the field of environmental philosophy, this book is as much concerned with epistemological issues as with environmental ethics. It covers a broad range of topics, including problems of (...) explanation and prediction in traditional ecology and how individual-based models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is transforming ecology. Introducing a brief history of conservation biology, Sarkar analyzes the new consensus framework for conservation planning through adaptive management. He concludes with a discussion of the future directions for theoretical research in conservation biology and environmental philosophy. (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.
The first anthology to highlight the problems of environmental justice and sustainable development, Reflecting on Nature provides a multicultural perspective on questions of environmental concern, featuring contributions from feminist and minority scholars and scholars from developing countries. Selections examine immediate global needs, addressing some of the most crucial problems we now face: biodiversity loss, the meaning and significance of wilderness, population and overconsumption, and the human use of other animals. Spanning centuries of philosophical, naturalist, and environmental reflection, (...) readings include the work of Aristotle, Locke, Darwin, and Thoreau, as well as that of contemporary, mainstream figures like Bernard Williams, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Jonathan Glover. Works by Val Plumwood, Bill Devall, Murray Bookchin, and John Dryzek comprise a radical ecology section. Featuring insightful section introductions by the editors, this comprehensive and timely collection of philosophical and environmental writing will inform, enlighten, and encourage debate. (shrink)
The paper starts with the assumption that the Precautionary Principle (PP) is one of the most important elements of the concept of sustainability. It is noted that PP has entered international treaties and national law. PP is widely referred to as a central principle of environmental policy. However, the precise content of PP remains largely unclear. In particular it seems unclear how PP relates to science. In section 2 of the paper a general overview of some historical and systematic (...) features of PP are presented. In section 3 a specific case is discussed in greater detail. It is claimed that the escape of farmed salmon from fish cages in the Sea, and its eventual invasion of the breeding places of the wild salmon up the rivers, must be regarded a proper case for applying PP. Yet there is no single PP-strategy. Instead, four different strategies are presented, and all of them can be regarded precautionary strategies in the light of PP. The choice between these strategies is based upon personal values. In section 4 of the paper a general analysis is given which relates these different value perspectives to basic differences in risk aversion, which in turn are related to differing conceptions of nature and/or society. In the concluding section 5 some general consequences of the foregoing analysis are outlined. (shrink)
Charting the origins of the modern ecology movement over more than two thousand years, this volume gives a voice to those hidden from history, revealing "green" themes within artistic and scientific thought. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
In 1902, eight northern European nations formed the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). A turn-of-the-century international movement created opportunities, funding, and political support for marine science. This paper uses ICES as a lens for examining international cooperation, and shows how its sponsors benefited from the intersection of internationalist ideals, national interest, and the characteristics of the marine environment. Marine science is then compared to other field sciences to explore how these three factors promoted internationalism in (...) science more generally. (shrink)
Global environmental science, in its current configuration as predominantly interdisciplinary earth systems analysis, owes its existence to technological development in three respects. (1) Environmental impacts of globalization of corporate and military industrial development linked to widespread use of new technologies prompted investigation of ways to understand and anticipate the global nature of such impacts. (2) Extension of the reach of technology itself demands extension of attempts to anticipate and control the environment in which the technology is to function. (...) Thus as the reach becomes global, the environment in question is also global. (3) Such global studies cannot get far without the development of command, control and information technologies (computers, satellites, automated remote sensing devices) which are crucial for data gathering, storage, and analysis and for the simulation modeling, crucial to theory testing and prediction. This network of dependence on technological development gives the global environmentalsciences a rather distinctive epistemological profile, one in which some distinctions that we had thought were clear, on the basis of models of classic laboratory sciences (such as those between experiment and deduction or representation and instrument), turn out to be far from clear. In consequence there needs to be a careful evaluation of the extent to which, or the ways in which, these sciences can provide bases for policy decisions. (shrink)
Over the last three decades salmon aquaculture has become both a significant coastal industry and a focus of controversy regarding its environmental impacts. Both circumstances have also provoked a great deal of environmental research. This article examines one episode in the history of this research. The Broughton Archipelago is a region of islands and channels on the Pacific coast of Canada, densely populated with salmon farms. Beginning in 2001 this region attracted researchers from several institutions, who examined the (...) ecology of the farms, and particularly the possibility that they release large numbers of parasites (known as sea lice), which then infect wild salmon. This local research community drew on aspects of the regional environment, including its ecological conditions, and opportunities for surveys, field experiments, and ecological modeling, to construct methods that were both situated in this place, yet intended to be persuasive to audiences outside the region. Knowledge of this environment was also influenced by knowledge from elsewhere, including the results of European research on sea lice, and various disciplinary perspectives. Research results were invoked to support opposing views of the impacts of salmon farms, as well as contrasting perspectives on the region's identity. Sea lice themselves, within the context of the ecosystem that gave them meaning, were objectified as the ecological link between salmon farms and the environment, and the basis for research and debate over these farms. This historical episode therefore demonstrates the inseparability of scientific practice, knowledge and place, particularly in the context of controversy. (shrink)
The UN Cartagena Protocol onBiosafety adopted in Montreal, 29 January, 2000and opened for signature in Nairobi, 15–26 May,2000 will exert a profound effect oninternational trade in genetically modifiedorganisms (GMOs) and their products. In thispaper, the potential effects of variousarticles of the Protocol on international tradein GMOs are analyzed. Based on the presentstatus of imports of GMOs and domestic researchand development of biotechnology in China,likely trends in imports of foreign GM food andrelated products after China accedes to WTO isexplored. Also, China's (...) potentialcountermeasures to control and regulate importsof GMOs in line with implementation of theProtocol are discussed. China, in recent times,has increased its food and agricultural importssubstantially from USA and Canada. Chinaimported soybean 10.42 mill. tons in 2000 andabout 15 mill tons in 2001, of which majorityare from USA where GM soybean accounts for60%. The plantation of US Monsanto'stransgenic Bt cotton was increased to more than1 million ha in China in 2001. Though China haspaid great attention to develop biotechnology,it appears to have little scope to export GMOsand GM products. So China may consider a rangeof administrative measures to implement theCartagena Protocol and to regulate its importof GMOs and GM agricultural products.Consequently, the Regulation on Safety ofAgri-GMOs was issued on June, 2001 and followedthree detailed rules issued in Jan. of 2002,with a priority to limit foreign GMOs importingby safety certification and labeling system.These were outlined taking into accountpolicies adopted in Western countries such asgreen barriers to international trade. (shrink)
Jakob von Uexküll's theories of life -- Biography and historical background -- Nature's conformity with plan -- Umweltforschung -- Biosemiotics -- Concluding remarks -- Marking a path into the environments of animals -- The essential approach to the organism -- Heidegger and the biologists -- Paths to the world -- Disruptive behavior : Heidegger and the captivated animal -- The worldless stone -- The poor animal -- For example, three bees and a lark -- Animal morphology -- A shocking wealth (...) -- A fine line in the rupture of time -- An affected body -- The theme of the animal melody : Merleau-Ponty and the umwelt -- The structure of behavior -- A pure wake, a quiet force -- A leaf of being -- Interanimality -- The-animal-stalks-at-five-oclock : Deleuze's affection for Uexküll -- Problematic organisms -- Uexküll's ethology of affects -- The body without organs, the embryonic egg, and prebiotic soup -- Nature's refrain sung across milieus and territories -- The animal stalks. (shrink)
Environment and Philosophy provides an accessible introduction to the radical challenges that environmentalism pose to concepts that have become almost second nature in the modern world. Written in an accessible way for those without a background in philosophy, this text examines ways of thinking about ourselves, nature and our relationship with nature.
The credibility of digital computer simulations has always been a problem. Today, through the debate on verification and validation, it has become a key issue. I will review the existing theses on that question. I will show that, due to the role of epistemological beliefs in science, no general agreement can be found on this matter. Hence, the complexity of the construction of sciences must be acknowledged. I illustrate these claims with a recent historical example. Finally I temperate this (...) diversity by insisting on recent trends in environmentalsciences and in industrial sciences. (shrink)
Ever wonder if it is possible to construct a numeric scale for environmental variables, like one does for the temperature? This paper is an attempt to construct one. There are two main parts: section “Statistical Analysis of Variations” presents a general statistical strategy for environmental factor selection. Section “Nonlinear Analytical Geometric Model of Variations” develops an analytical geometric representation of system variations in response to environmental changes. The model is used to quantify the effects of environmental (...) interactions. The paper treats only one-dimensional case, however, the derivation of the case of multiple independent factors follows immediately. The general method developed in this paper may prove applicable to many different fields, such as extensions beyond classical physics, economics, and other sciences. Section “Conclusion” provides an illustration of applications, examples and implications of the results. (shrink)
The general public and environmental policy makers often perceive management actions of environmental managers as science, when such actions are, in fact, value judgments about when to intervene in natural processes. The choice of action requires ethical as well as scientific analysis because managers must choose a normative outcome to direct their intervention. I examine a management case study involving prescribed burning of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities in south-central Montana (USA) to illustrate how to teach students to ethically (...) evaluate a management action by precisely identifying: 1) the proposed management action, 2) the deficiency of the system to be remedied by the action, 3) the stakeholders affected by the action, and 4) the category and type of values affirmed in the management action. Through such analysis, students are taught to recognize implicit and explicit value judgments associated with management actions, identify stakeholders to whom managers have legitimate ethical obligations, and practice a general method of ethical analysis applicable to many forms of environmental management. (shrink)
The history of sonar technology provides a fascinating case study for philosophers of science. During the first and second World Wars, sonar technology was primarily associated with activity on the part of the sonar technicians and researchers. Usually this activity is concerned with creation of sound waves under water, as in the classic “ping and echo”. The last fifteen years have seen a shift toward passive, ambient noise “acoustic daylight imaging” sonar. Along with this shift a new relationship has begun (...) between sonar technicians and environmental ethics. I have found a significant shift in the values, and the environmental ethics, of the underwater community by looking closely at the term “noise” as it has been conceptualized and reconceptualized in the history of sonar technology. To illustrate my view, I will include three specific sets of information: 1) a discussion of the 2003 debate regarding underwater active low- frequency sonar and its impact on marine life; 2) a review of the history of sonar technology in diagrams, abstracts, and artifacts; 3) the latest news from February 2004 on how the military and the acoustic daylight imaging passive sonar community has responded to the current debates. (shrink)
Abstract What is the significance of the wicked problems framework for environmental philosophy? In response to wicked problems, environmental scientists are starting to welcome the participation of social scientists, humanists, and the creative arts. We argue that the need for interdisciplinary approaches to wicked problems opens up a number of tasks that environmental philosophers have every right to undertake. The first task is for philosophers to explore new and promising ways of initiating philosophical research through conducting collaborative (...) learning processes on environmental issues. The second task is for philosophers to recognize the value of philosophical skills in their engagements with members of other disciplines and walks of life in addressing wicked problems. The wicked problems framework should be seen as an important guide for facilitating philosophical research that is of relevance to problems like climate change and sustainable agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9344-0 Authors Paul B. Thompson, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Kyle Powys Whyte, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Ecological science has been viewed by some philosophers as a foundational resource for the development of metaphysical, epistemological and normative views concerning humanity’s relationship with the natural environment, or what might be called an “ecological philosophy.” Analysis of three attempts to infer philosophical conclusions from ecological science shows that (1) there are serious obstacles facing any attempt to derive unique philosophical consequences from ecological science and (2) the project of developing an ecological philosophy relevant to human-environment relations is seriously hindered (...) by a reliance on traditional ecological science that focuses on relations between nonhuman organisms and their environments. However, the search for an ecological philosophy is not inherently misguided because (1) although ecological science may never support a unique philosophical interpretation of ecological theory, empirical evidence can function to narrow the range of possible interpretations, which is a significant epistemic achievement; and because (2) there are several non-traditional branches of ecological science that focus on human-environment relations and that consequently may be better suited to function as conceptual resources for the sorts of problems that concern environmental philosophers. (shrink)
Environmental philosophers often assurne that we lack metaethical concepts and normative criteria for environmental decisions, but that we have all the facts we need from the environmentalsciences. This is contested in the case of our obligation to future generations as affected by current decisions regarding increased fossil fuel use, decisions which affect both the inlmediate and long-range future, and whichmust be made deliberately or by default before we know the long-term effects of increased carbon dioxide (...) in the atmosphere. Some suggestions are offered about decision making in the absence of sufficient factual information. (shrink)
Arecent trend among environmentalists (e.g., Aldo Leopold) of basing ethical norms for land use, resource management, and conservation on ecological principies such as homeostasis is examined, and a way to justify such an ethical approach through analysis of moral judgment is explored. Issues such as the is/ought impasse, the connection between value judgments and reasons for acting, and the question of whether moral judgments are definitive and categorical are treated as they relate to an ecological ethic, i.e., an environmental (...) ethic grounded in ecological science. I argue that such an ethic is in such regards as sound as more traditional approaches. (shrink)
Abstract Environmental and public health-focused sciences are increasingly characterised as constituting an emerging discipline—planetary medicine. From a governance perspective, the ethical components of that discipline may usefully be viewed as bestowing upon our ailing natural environment the symbolic moral status of a patient. Such components emphasise, for example, the origins and content of professional and social virtues and related ethical principles needed to promote global governance systems and policies that reduce ecological stresses and pathologies derived from human overpopulation, (...) selfishness and greed—such as pollution, loss of biodiversity, deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as provide necessary energy, water and food security. Less well explored in this context, however, is the ethics that should underpin global use of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology as forms of planetary therapeutics. Nanotechnology may be particularly important, for instance, as a mechanism for improving upon photosynthesis and engineering it into human structures for localised production of carbon-neutral hydrogen based-fuel and carbohydrate-based food and fertilizer. Artificial photosynthesis, because of its unique and widespread public and environmental benefits in this period of human history, may even be termed the moral culmination of nanotechnology, assisting this planet to move beyond the Anthropocene epoch to that of the Sustainocene. This paper explores practical steps towards planetary nanomedicine involving governance of artificial photosynthesis, including a UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Bioethics and Human Rights of Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis (Global Solar Fuels and Foods ). Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s11569-012-0144-4 Authors Thomas Faunce, College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment and College of Law (joint Appointment), Australian National University, Acton, Australia Journal NanoEthics Online ISSN 1871-4765 Print ISSN 1871-4757. (shrink)
Rolston (1988) argues that in order to act ethically in the environment, moral agents must assume that their actions are potentially harmful, and then strive to prove otherwise before implementing that action. In order to determine whether or not an action in the environment is harmful requires the tools of applied epistemology in order to act in accord with Rolston’s ethical prescription. This link between ethics and epistemology demands a closer look at the relationship between confirmation theory, particularly notions of (...) plausibility, in the philosophy of science and environmental ethics. Upon taking this look, I conclude that, at least logically, we are no better off assuming that actions are maximally risky (Rolston) than when we assume minimal risk. “Our vulnerability to error is greatest not from the things that we include in the model, but from the prophecies we leave out entirely.” Francis Bretherton “What is the main epistemic problem concerning science? I take it that it is the explication of how we compare and evaluate theories, as a basis either for theory acceptance or for practical action.” Bas van Fraassen “We face two kinds of ethical difficulties. One is where we know what ought to be done but not how to get the company to do it. The other is where we do not know what is right. We do not know the facts, or how to weigh the facts, especially statistical ones. We do not know the probabilities for development of future technologies. We do not know how to attach values to facts, or how to trade this good off against that one.” Holmes Rolston. (shrink)
Thomas Hill famously argued that what really bothers us about environmental degradation is best discovered by asking “What kind of person would do such a thing?” Beliefs, some of which are blameworthy, are among the things that define what kind of person one is. What we care about is reflected in whether one’s epistemic practices align with one’s core moral convictions and common standards of decency. Our moral sensitivities are reflected in what we attend to and reflect upon. What (...) we do not notice can be a result of culpable indifference or self-deception. Environmental beliefs formed with negligent disregard for the risks they create for others are reflections of a vicious moral character. Beliefs of citizens have consequences. They determine what politicians will respond to and what policies they will introduce. Ideological commitments have been shown to influence what one takes to be the facts about risks. When the ethical dimensions of environmental beliefs and ignorance are unchallenged society drifts morally. Emphasizing the relationship between commonly shared moral convictions (more basic than ideological commitments) and risky environmental beliefs and actions has more potential to create environmental awareness than the current focus on environmental science and the economic benefits of better environmental policies. (shrink)
In their fine paper, Evans et al. (2009) discuss the proposition that invasive non-native species (INS) are harmful. The question to ask is, “Harmful to whom?” Pathogens that make people sick and pests that damage their property—crops, for example—cause harms of kinds long understood in common law and recognized by public agencies. The concept of “harm to the environment,” in contrast, has no standing in common law or legislation, no meaning for any empirical science, and no basis in a political (...) consensus other than might be drawn from the Endangered Species Act. As a generalization, the proposition that INS cause “environmental harm”—since this concept is empty of legal, scientific, and political meaning—must rest on definition, diktat, or diatribe. As Evans et al. suggest, however, the idea of “harm to the environment” is not always and certainly need not be arbitrary; it might gather significance in the context of a particular place through a political process that weighs economic concerns with cultural, religious, aesthetic, and other relevant beliefs, practices, and commitments that people who care about that place present. It is not clear, however, that adaptive management, which Evens et al. propose, will provide that democratic political process. (shrink)
The objective of Holmes Rolston, III’s writings has been the development of an “ecologically formed” environmental ethics based both on environmental values and ecological description. I show how recasting Rolston’s value theory in terms of H. Richard Niebuhr’s relational value theory can clarify and strengthen this project. Niebuhr developed a theory of value in which value is found in relationships and value systems are constructed in relation to centers of value. Niebuhr’s contextual method, with which Rolston’s methodology has (...) substantial affinity, is particularly open to the use of such sciences as ecology. I conclude that this recasting of Rolston’s important work in terms of relational value and contextual method can clarify the use of ecology in ethics (including the is/ought dichotomy) and can contribute to ethical reflection on such difficult problems as the spotted owl controversy. (shrink)
The traditional vision of the role science should play in policy making is of a two stage process of scientists first finding out the facts, and then policy makers making a decision about what to do about them. We argue that this two stage process is a fiction and that a distinction must be drawn between pure science and science in the service of public policy. When science is transferred into the policy realm, its claims to truth get undermined because (...) we must abandon the open-ended nature of scientific inquiry. When we move from the sphere of science to the sphere of policy, we pick an arbitrary point in the open-ended scientific process, and ask our experts to give us the answer. The choice of the endpoint, however, must always be arbitrary and determined by non-scientific factors. Thus, the two stages in the model of first finding the facts, and then making a decision about what to do, cannot be clearly separated. The second stage clearly affects the first. This conclusion will have implications about existing scientific policy institutions. For example, we advocate that the environmental assessment process be radically overhauled, or perhaps even let go. It will be our position that ultimately a better model for the involvement of scientists in public policy debates is that of being participants in particular interest groups (“hired guns”), rather than as supposedly unbiased consultants to decision-makers. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Chapter 1. Environmental Problems and Society Part I: The Material Chapter 2. Consumption and Materialism Chapter 3. Money and Machines Chapter 4. Population and Development Chapter 5. Body and Health Part II: The Ideal Chapter 6. The Ideology of Environmental Domination Chapter 7. The Ideology of Environmental Concern Chapter 8. The Human Nature of Nature Chapter 9. The Rationality of Risk Part III: The Practical Chapter 10. Mobilizing the Ecological Society Chapter 11. Governing (...) the Ecological Society . (shrink)
Because complex environmental problems are relegated to scientific experts, the ethical questions that are embedded in these problems are often hidden or distorted in scientific and administrative methodology and communication. The administrative process requires that facts and values be separated. Those values that cannot simply be ignored are usually translated into technical economic language and settled in terms of economic costs and benefits. Calls for regulatory reform-i.e., to reduce or eliminate environmental regulation--create additional pressures on analysts that encourage (...) them to focus on quantitative questions at the expense of qualitative ones. Distortion can also result from the use of standard risk assessment procedures and from the improper placement of burden of proof on govemment agencies. The greatest problem, nevertheless, is the narrow scientific training of technical experts which frequently leaves them unprepared to deal with the ethical and value issues in environmental public policy. (shrink)
l examine three approaches to environmental ethics and illustrate them with examples from California. An egocentric ethic is grounded in the self and based on the assumption that what is good for the individual is good for society. Historically associated with laissez faire capitalism and a religious ethic of human dominion over nature, this approach is exemplified by the extraction of natural resources from the commons by private interests. A homocentric ethic is grounded in society and is based on (...) the assumption that policies should reflect the greatest good for the greatest number of people and that, as stewards of the natural world, humans should conserve and protect nature for human benefit. Historically associated with govemment regulation of the private sector, a homocentric approach can be illustrated by federal, state, and local environmental agencies charged with protecting the welfare of the general public. An ecocentric ethic is grounded in the cosmos, or whole environment, and isbased on the assignment of intrinsic value to nonhuman nature. Exemplified by ecologically based sciences and process-oriented philosophies, an ecocentric approach often underlies the political positions of environmentalists. This threefold taxonomy may be useful in identifying underlying ethical assumptions in cases where ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest develop among entrepreneurs, govemment agencies, and environmentalists. (shrink)