A Critique of Ehrenfeld’s Views on Humanism and the Environment

Environmental Ethics 3 (3):231-235 (1981)
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Abstract

David Ehrenfeld argues that humanism emphasizes reason at the expense of emotion, and that its narrow focus on the use of reason to serve human interests leads to a dichotomy between man and nature in which ecological factors are subordinated to the satisfaction of human wants. In response, I argue that: humanists stress employment of reflective reason and reason’s interrelations with other aspectsofthe human personality, humanism’s typical commitment to naturalism locates man as part of nature and does not entail an exclusive focus on human interests, and humanism’s commitment to the legitimate sphere of human interests does not entail indifference to nonhuman nature, for a healthy environment is necessary for the long-term satisfaction of human interests.

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