Environmental Ethics 13 (3):215-234 (1991)

Abstract
Using concepts from abstract algebra and type theory, I analyze the structural presuppositions of any holistic ethical theory. This study is motivated by such recent holistic theories in environmental ethics as Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, James E. Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, Arne Naess’ deep ecology, and various aesthetic ethics of the sublime. I also discuss the holistic and type theoretic assumptions of suchstandard ethical theories as hedonism, natural rights theory, utilitarianism, Rawls’ difference principle, and fascism. I argue that although there are several common senses of part-whole in ethical theory, the central sense of holism in ethics is that of a theory that defines its key moral idea as an emergent group property grounded in the relational properties of its individual constituents. Hedonism and Kantianism do not count as holistic in this sense. Natural rights theory does in adegenerate way. Utilitarianism and various environmental ethics are paradigm examples. I point out as a general structural weakness of environmental holistic theories that their first-order grounding in nonmoral vocabulary seems to preclude an explanation of many moral intuitions about human ethics.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI enviroethics199113311
Options
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: 53,688
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

Rethinking Environmental Ethics.Ayo Fadahunsi - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 23:21-27.
Holism, Physical Theories and Quantum Mechanics.Michael Patrick Seevinck - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (4):693-712.
Holism, Weight, and Undercutting.Mark Schroeder - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):328 - 344.
Aldo Leopold and the Moral Community.Jon N. Moline - 1986 - Environmental Ethics 8 (2):99-120.
Holists and Fascists and Paper Tigers...Oh My!Michael P. Nelson - 1996 - Ethics and the Environment 1 (2):103 - 117.
Eight Theories of Ethics.Gordon Graham - 2004 - Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Sober, Environmentalists, Species, and Ignorance.Robin Attfield - 2011 - Environmental Ethics 33 (3):307-316.
On Using Ethical Theories to Teach Engineering Ethics.Mathieu Bouville - 2008 - Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (1):111-120.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-02-17

Total views
6 ( #1,042,303 of 2,349,559 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #510,673 of 2,349,559 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes