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

Mark Budolfson
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
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.
Keywords Aldo Leopold  anthropocentrism  Applied Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Social and Political Philosophy  environmental ethics  environment  hunting  cost-benefit analysis  land ethic
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics201436447
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,811
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Land Ethic.Aldo Leopold - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
41 ( #267,170 of 2,463,158 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,109 of 2,463,158 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes