Assessing the value of nature: A transactional approach

Environmental Ethics 24 (1):57-74 (2002)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Henry David Thoreau’s discussion of the highest value of wild apples and my own reflection upon my experience, interacting with the sea and enjoying its products during my Central American upbringing, motivate this discussion of how human beings may apprehend nature’s highest worth. I propose that in order to apprehend nature’s highest value it is necessary to understand the complete transaction between human beings and nature—an active transaction that requires from the human being a continuous movement along experience, reflection, and responsible action. I argue that the economic valuation of natural products—via the contemporary economic concepts of utility, use-value, existence-value, and willingness-to-pay—is insufficient to comprehend the full worth of nature because it reduces the human being-nature transaction to mere economic terms. Hence, a reading of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature provides insight into the services—commodity, beauty, language, and discipline—that the human being receives, as part of the transaction, from nature. In turn, a reading of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac complements the Emersonian position by considering the human being’s position as a member of a natural community. Finally, I propose that in order to apprehend the worth of nature, it is further necessary to move from the reflective understanding of the human being-nature transaction into necessary action, that is, into the assumption of responsibility towards nature

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,247

External links

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

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
20 (#558,779)

6 months
1 (#415,900)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Daniel G. Campos
Brooklyn College

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references