Why the Standard Interpretation of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic is Mistaken

Environmental Ethics 36 (4):443-453 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The standard interpretation of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is that correct land management is whatever tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community, of which we humans are merely a small part. From this interpretation, it is a short step to interpreting Leopold as a sort of deep ecologist or radical environmentalist. However, this interpretation is based on a small number of quotations from Leopold taken out of context. Once these quota­tions are put into context, and once the broader context of Leopold’s mature writings and his actions as a land manager are taken into account, it becomes clear that he is much closer to being an enlightened anthropocentrist than he is to being anything like a radical environmentalist. When properly understood, Leopold’s land ethic recognizes that fundamental human interests must be treated with the highest possible respect, and it emphasizes the incredible challenge and need for modesty in identifying the correct tradeoffs between lesser human interests and the interests of the broader biotic community.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,101

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-02-15

Downloads
59 (#202,490)

6 months
14 (#69,418)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mark Budolfson
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The land ethic.Aldo Leopold - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics.

Add more references