Exemplarist Environmental Ethics

Journal of Religious Ethics 47 (3):525-550 (2019)
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Abstract

This article argues that environmental ethics can deemphasize environmental problem-solving in preference for a more exemplarist mode. This mode will renarrate what we admire in those we have long admired, in order to make them resonate with contemporary ethical needs. First, I outline a method problem that arose for me in ethnographic fieldwork, a problem that I call, far too reductively, “solution thinking.” Second, I relate that method problem to movements against “quandary ethics” in ethical theory more broadly. Third, I discuss some interpretive work I am engaged in about Henry David Thoreau and how it bears on the methodological issues my fieldwork raised. I argue that some of the most important icons of right relation to environment, especially Francis of Assisi and Thoreau, should be envisioned as far more politically invested than they usually are. They demonstrate to scholars of religious ethics that an exemplarist ethic focused on character need not neglect politics.

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Citations of this work

Religious Ethics and Empirical Ethics.Ross Moret - 2021 - Journal of Religious Ethics 49 (1):33-67.
American Indian Traditions and Religious Ethics.James W. Waters - 2022 - Journal of Religious Ethics 50 (2):239-272.

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References found in this work

Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
The Sovereignty of Good.Iris Murdoch - 1971 - Philosophy 47 (180):178-180.
The Sovereignty of Good.Iris Murdoch - 1971 - Religious Studies 8 (2):180-181.
The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis. White, Jr & Lynn - 1967 - Science 155 (3767):1203-1207.

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