Environmental Ethics 6 (2):101-130 (1984)
In this paper I attempt a moral justification of protecting wild species, ecosystems, and landscapes, a justification not directly grounded in appeals to human benefit. I begin with a description of anthropocentric and ecosystemic approaches to the valuing of nature and offer some empirical arguments in support of the ecosystemic view. I suggest that human beings have a genetic need for natural environments, and that the direct experience of wild nature is an intrinsic good. Theoretical coherence and scope is another advantage of the ecological perspective over the anthropocentric view. Turning to moral psychology, I argue that human beings have a fundamental need to care for things outside themselves and that this need is suitably met, and human life enriched, by a transcending concern for the well-being of natural species, habitats, and ecosystems . These considerations are joined with the ecological point of view to yield the conclusion that a self-transcending concern for the welfare of wild species and their habitats enriches the quality of moral life. Persons with genuine reverence and respect for wild creatures and their habitats will enjoy greater fulfilment in their own lives and be better neighbors toeach other
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