Sustainability and the moral community

Agriculture and Human Values 9 (4):48-57 (1992)

Abstract
Three views of sustainability are juxtaposed with four views about who the members of the moral community are. These provide points of contact for understanding the moral issues in sustainability. Attention is drawn to the preferred epistemic methods of the differing factions arguing for sustainability. Criteria for defining membership in the moral community are explored; rationality and capacity for pain are rejected as consistent criteria. The criterion of having interests is shown to be most coherent for explaining why all living humans belong to the moral community. This criterion allows inclusion of future generations as well, and extends to animals and plants membership in the moral community. Inferences are drawn that food sufficiency advocates hold only presently living persons to be full-fledged members of the moral community, but that this view is internally inconsistent. Stewards should agree that all living things are members of the moral community. A distinction between welfare interests and ulterior interests allows the steward to include the aims of those who argue for sustainability as community without committing some of their errors. Community advocates argue that essential values and virtues will be lost is the culture of agriculture is transformed. I argue that community advocates may fail to pass on our most important virtue — justice — without such a transformation
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DOI 10.1007/BF02217964
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.
Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.

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