Environmental Ethics 15 (4):333-344 (1993)

The last person, or people, argument is often assumed to be a potent weapon against a purely instrumental attitude toward nature, for it is said to imply the permissible destruction of nature under certain circumstances. I distinguish between three types of instrumentalism—strong instrumentalism and two forms of weak instrumentalism:, which includes the psychological and aesthetic use ofnature, and, which focuses on the public service use of nature—and examine them in terms of two scenarios, the après moi, le déluge and the “ultimate humanization of nature” scenarios. With regard to the first, I show that LPA is irrelevant to all the three versions of instrumentalism. With regard to the second scenario, I show that even though it is redundant insofar as is concerned and irrelevant insofar as is concerned, it is, surprisingly, effective against, despite the fact that as a form of weak instrumentalism it is not the target of LPA. In addition, I examine the implications of LPA for the three variants when it is applied to the preservation rather than the destruction of nature and conclude that LPA is effective against and, but not as effective against, which can recognize a permission, though not a duty, to save nature.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI enviroethics19931545
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