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Profile: Ben Dixon (Stephen F. Austin State University)
  1.  91
    Value Pluralism and Consistency Maximisation in the Writings of Aldo Leopold: Moving Beyond Callicott's Interpretations of the Land Ethic.Ben Dixon - 2017 - Environmental Values 26 (3):269-295.
    The 70th anniversary of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (1949) approaches. For philosophers—environmental ethicists in particular—this text has been highly influential, especially the ‘Land Ethic’ essay contained therein. Given philosophers’ acumen for identifying and critiquing arguments, one might reasonably think a firm grasp of Leopold’s ideas to have emerged from such attention. I argue that this is not the case. Specifically, Leopold’s main interpreter and systematiser, philosopher J. Baird Callicott, has shoehorned Aldo Leopold’s ideas into differing monistic moral theories (...)
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  2.  61
    Sustainability's Golden Rule.Ben Dixon - 2012 - In Jerry Williams & William Forbes (eds.), Toward a More Livable World: The Social Dimensions of Sustainability. Stephen F. Austin State University Press. pp. 37-44.
    This essay formulates a moral principle I call sustainability’s golden rule. This principle, I will argue, goes a long way in providing correct moral guidance for sustainable development. In laying out these ideas, the essay proceeds as follows: first, a very basic, oft-privileged definition of sustainable development is put forward; second, I make clear how sustainability’s golden rule is formulable from basic moral considerations that explain why sustainable development should be pursued at all; and lastly, I deduce some of the (...)
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  3.  41
    Deriving Moral Considerability From Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.Ben Dixon - 2016 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 19 (2):196-212.
    I argue that a reasonable understanding of Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ is one that identifies possession of health as being a sufficient condition for moral consideration. With this, Leopold extends morality not only to biotic wholes, but to individual organisms, as both can have their health undermined. My argument centers on explaining why Leopold thinks it reasonable to analogize ecosystems both to an organism and to a community: both have a health. My conclusions undermine J. Baird Callicott’s rhetorical dismissal of the (...)
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  4.  71
    Darwinism and Human Dignity.Ben Dixon - 2007 - Environmental Values 16 (1):23 - 42.
    James Rachels argued against the possibility of finding some moral capacity in humans that confers upon them a unique dignity. His argument contends that Darwinism challenges such attempts, because Darwinism predicts that any morally valuable capacity able to bestow a unique dignity is likely present to a degree within both humans and non-human animals alike. I make the case, however, that some of Darwin's own thoughts regarding the nature of conscience provide a springboard for criticising Rachels's claim here. Using Darwin's (...)
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  5. Achieving Moral Progress Despite Moral Regress.Ben Dixon - 2005 - Social Philosophy Today 21:157-172.
    Moral progress and some of the conditions under which groups can make it is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I address a problem arising from the use of pluralistic criteria for determining moral progress. Pluralistic criteria can allow for judgments that moral progress has taken place where there is causally related moral regression. Indeed, an otherwise well-argued pluralistic theory put forward by Michelle Moody-Adams allows for such conflicting judgments. I argue, however, that the way in which Moody-Adams handles (...)
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  6.  1
    Some Fundamentals of Conservation in South and West Africa.William Forbes, Kwame Badu Antwi-Boasiako & Ben Dixon - 2014 - Environmental Ethics 36 (1):5-30.
    Aldo Leopold’s draft essay “Some Fundamentals of Conservation in the Southwest” from 1923 shows that his initially expressed moral concerns were primary to his view of conservation. In addition, this early essay also challenged dominant perceptions of environmental degradation in the southwestern United States in the 1920s. For these reasons, it provides a framework for examining conservation as a moral issue in South and West Africa, especially in the nations of South Africa and Ghana, building on J. Baird Callicott’s summaries (...)
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