The first half of the book concentrates on key definitions and epistemological issues, including an overview of philosophy as applied to technology, a definition of technology, and an examination of technology as it relates to practical and ...
This book shows the vital relationship between human life and the philosophical placement of value, emphasizing the now-occurring transition from the old mechanical world view to the postmodern alternative inspired by ecology.
There is a dilemma facing mainstream environmental ethicists. One of our leading spokesmen, Holmes Rolston, III, offers a rich ethical position, but one that lacks internal connections between principles relevant to the environment and principles relevant to human society. These principles are just different; thus no higher-order guidance is available to cope with cases of conflict between them. A second major spokesman, Baird Callicott, recommends a "land ethics" that is internally coherent but sadly inadequate for addressing many distinctly human ethical (...) concerns. To escape this dilemma I advocate an alternative worldview, "Personalistic Organicism." On this view, inspired by Alfred North Whitehead, a continuum of values, pervading the universe, can undergird a unified ethics in which human persons are recognized as especially valuable without rupturing the continuities that bind humanity to the rest of the living (and nonliving) environment. (shrink)
Meat?eating as a human practice has been under ethical attack from philosophers such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan on both utilitarian and deontological grounds. An organicist ethic, on the other hand, recognizes that all life other than the primary producers, the plants, must feed on life. This essay affirms, with many environmental ethicists, the moralconsiderability of biota other than the human, but denies that this enlargement of the moral community beyond Homo sapiens necessarily precludes our eating of meat. First, (...) absolute deontological arguments against meat?eating are disputed, then utilitarian?hedonistic arguments are shown not to be sufficient to require ethical vegetarianism. Both sorts of arguments have strengths, however, that set us on guard against current abuses in the meat?raising and slaughtering industries. If the principle of ?due respect? for beings with different degrees of intrinsic value is honored, then moderate meat?eating under reformed social practices can be seen as licit. Two final problems then require investigation: the problem of dietary justice for poor humans and the problem of ?speciesism?. Dealing with the latter requires discussion of cannibalism and the ethics of humans being eaten by still higher ?aliens? (shrink)
There is a dilemma facing mainstream environmental ethicists. One of our leading spokesmen, Holmes Rolston, III, offers a rich ethical position, but one that lacks internal connections between principles relevant to the environment and principles relevant to human society. These principles are just different; thus no higher-order guidance is available to cope with cases of conflict between them. A second major spokesman, Baird Callicott, recommends a "land ethics" that is internally coherent but sadly inadequate for addressing many distinctly human ethical (...) concerns. To escape this dilemma I advocate an alternative worldview, "Personalistic Organicism." On this view, inspired by Alfred North Whitehead, a continuum of values, pervading the universe, can undergird a unified ethics in which human persons are recognized as especially valuable without rupturing the continuities that bind humanity to the rest of the living environment. (shrink)
Many environmental thinkers are torn in two opposing directions at once. For good reasons we are appalled by the damage that has been done to the earth by the ethos of heedless anthropocentric individualism, which has achieved its colossal feats of exploitation, encouraged to selfishness by its world view—of relation-free atoms—while chanting ‘reduction’ as its mantra. But also for good reasons we are repelled, at the other extreme, by environmentally correct images of mindless biocentric collectivisms in which precious personal values (...) are overridden for the good of some healthy beehive ‘whole’. (shrink)
This book provides a reasoned, comprehensive understanding of what religion is as well as a clear and critical assessment of whether, in the light of modern developments in philosophy, contemporary thinking people can responsibly maintain religious belief in God. The book is divided into three major sections: the first deals with what all religions may be said to have in common; the second discusses theistic religion and the issue of intellectually responsible belief in God; the third examines current developments within (...) a particular theistic religion, Christianity. Originally published in 1968, the book is basic, both in the nature of the issues it discusses and in the clarity and comprehensiveness of its presentation; it is varied in the arguments and perspectives dealt with; it provides an introduction to philosophical thinking through the problems of philosophy of religion; and it deals seriously with controversial movements in theology. (shrink)
In this brief comment on Ted Schoen’s paper, I tend to agree more than I disagree. Methodological isolation has been widely and uncritically accepted by thinkers about religion and science, and Schoen’s dissipation of the isolationist discourse deserves positive notice. For too long, science has been the bully of the epistemic neighborhood, and religious thinkers have taken refuge in methodological isolation. As Schoen argues, neither religion nor science is isolated; rather, both are interacting in the same comprehensive and value-laden domain, (...) which also includes art, poetry, ethics and metaphysics. (shrink)
In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick Ferré. These essays, informed by the insights of Ferré and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
In this collection of essays, leading environmentalists and philosophers explore the relationship between environmental ethics and policy, both in theory and practice. The first section of the book focuses on four approaches to change in ethical theory: ecological science, feminist metaphysics, Chinese philosophy, and holistic postmodern technology. In subsequent sections the contributors emphasize the need for nontraditional solutions and attempt to expand awareness of the most pressing practical problems. Among the topics discussed are the possibilities of real international cooperation, the (...) inequitable but economically intractable issue of global gasses, the political and ethical challenges of city planning, and the growing evidence of fundamental inappropriateness in treating land as legal private property. This volume is based on essays presented in 1992 at the Second International Conference on Ethics and Environmental Policy. The conference was held in response to the increasing need for a new ethics that would counter the traditional human-centered, dominantly individualistic approach of the industrial world toward the environment. (shrink)
An organismic viewpoint is a welcome alternative to modern mechanistic consciousness, with the latter’s excessive epistemic reliance on analysis, its ontological presumption of atomism, and its value commitments to competition, quantification, reduction, and predictability. These ideas have had negative social and environmental consequences and require replacement. Organismic ethics, grounded in the “wisdom of life”--especially the dialectical triad of creativity, homeostasis, and holism-is far healthier. But organicism alone has serious defects sometimes overlooked by environmental enthusiasts (earlier including this author): life’s creativity (...) wastes individual organisms, and life’s holism neglects the unique value of parts in favor of larger unities. Is it possible to work out a genuinely personalistic organicism? Traditional personalistic idealism will not do, but insights into essential personal qualities may enrich the concepts of creativity, homeostasis, and holism enough to offer a start toward a more adequate ethic. (shrink)
Notoriously, beauty is subject to time’s “tooth”; but—somehow—we sense also the imperviousness of achieved value to mere duration. This paradox is illustrated using a recent art event, and three principles analyzed from the case in point: (1) the exclusive intrinsic importance of subjective immediacy, (2) the necessity of intersubjective connections, and (3) the crucial place of instrumental value. Moving from art to metaphysics to nature, I conclude with discussions of habitat and of evolution. Only if a habitat’s instrumental value (for (...) many centers of subjective immediacy besides human ones) is adequately respected can anthropocentric values be prevented from always “trumping” all others. I reconsider evolution in terms of many interconnected value-realizing subjects, presenting the proffered “kalogenic” perspective as a manifestation of the most fundamental process of the universe—one in which the pursuit, actualization, and defense of concrete beauty actually generates what we abstractly call “time.”. (shrink)