The possibility of metaphysics: Environmental ethics and the naturalistic fallacy

Environmental Ethics 22 (1):85-99 (2000)
One of the most distinguishing features of environmental ethics has been the effort to develop a nonanthropocentric intrinsic value theory, that is, a definition of the good which is not dependent upon some quality particular to humanity, a definition of the good whereby properties found in the terrestrial, nonhuman world are constitutive of that definition. In this paper, I argue that major nonanthropocentric theories suffer from arbitrariness. I argue through the use of representative thinkers that much nonathropocentric theory has committed the naturalistic fallacy because it has deployed various forms of empirical naturalism, and that to meet this challenge nonanthropocentrism must employ a form of metaphysically based nonanthropocentrism. I do not argue that the naturalistic fallacy is valid. Rather, I show that a sample of major thinkers, representative of a logically exhaustive set of possible evasions of the naturalistic fallacy, all fail to evade the fallacy. Further, I show that the failure of this set of possible evasionsleaves but one evasion possible, namely, ethical theory grounded in metaphysics. Finally, I recommend “process” metaphysics as the most promising metaphysical ground for environmental ethics, assuming the validity of the naturalistic fallacy
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics200022151
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,810
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
29 ( #183,322 of 2,202,780 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #150,076 of 2,202,780 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature