Environmental Values

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-09-10
  • Publisher: Routledge

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We live in a world confronted by mounting environmental problems. We read of increasing global deforestation and desertification, loss of species diversity, pollution and global warming. In everyday life people mourn the loss of valued landscapes and urban spaces. Underlying these problems are conflicting priorities and values. Yet dominant approaches to policy making seem ill-equipped to capture the various ways in which the environment matters to us. Environmental Values introduces readers to these issues by presenting, and then challenging, two dominant approaches to environmental decision-making, one from environmental economics, the other from environmental philosophy. The authors present a sustained case for questioning the underlying ethical theories of both of these traditions. They defend a pluralistic alternative rooted in the rich everyday relations of humans to the environments they inhabit, providing a path for integrating human needs with environmental protectionthrough an understanding of the narrative and history of particular places. The book examines the implications of this approach for policy issues such as biodiversity conservation and sustainability. The book is written in a clear and accessible style for an interdisciplinary audience. It will be ideal for student use in environmental courses in geography, economics, philosophy, politics and sociology. It will also be of wider interest to policy makers and the concerned general reader.

Author Biography

John O'Neill is Professor of Political Economy at The University of Manchester Alan Holland is Emeritus Professor of Applied Philosophy at Lancaster University Andrew Light is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. viii
Aknowledgementsp. ix
Values and the environmentp. 1
Environments and valuesp. 1
Living from the worldp. 1
Living in the worldp. 2
Living with the worldp. 3
Addressing value conflictsp. 4
Value conflictsp. 4
The distribution of goods and harmsp. 5
Addressing conflictsp. 5
Utilitarian approaches to environmental decision makingp. 11
Human well-being and the natural worldp. 13
Introductionp. 13
Welfare: hedonism, preferences and objective listsp. 15
The hedonistic account of well-beingp. 15
Bentham and the felicific calculusp. 15
John Stuart Millp. 16
Preference utilitarianismp. 21
Objectivist accounts of welfarep. 24
Whose well-being counts?p. 26
Making comparisons: utilitarianism, economics and efficiencyp. 27
Consequentialism and its criticsp. 31
Introductionp. 31
Consequentialism permits too muchp. 32
What is the problem with consequentialism? The moral standing of individualsp. 33
Rights, conflicts and communityp. 36
Consequentialism demands too muchp. 39
What is the problem with consequentialism? Agent-based restrictions on actionp. 40
Virtues and environmental concernp. 41
Consequentialist responsesp. 43
Indirect utilitarianismp. 44
Extend the account of the goodp. 46
Ethical pluralism and the limits of theoryp. 47
Equality, justice and environmentp. 49
Utilitarianism and distributionp. 50
Equality in moral standingp. 52
Indirect utilitarian arguments for distributive equalityp. 53
Economics, efficiency and equalityp. 54
Willingness to payp. 55
The Kaldor-Hicks compensation testp. 56
Discounting the futurep. 57
Egalitarian ethicsp. 58
Consequentialism without maximisationp. 59
The priority viewp. 59
Telic egalitarianismp. 60
Deontological responsesp. 62
Community, character and equalityp. 64
Equality of what?p. 67
Value pluralism, value commensurability and environmental choicep. 70
Value monismp. 72
Value pluralismp. 74
Trading-off valuesp. 75
Constitutive incommensurabilitiesp. 77
Value pluralism, consequentialism, and the alternativesp. 79
Structural pluralismp. 81
Choice without commensurabilityp. 83
What can we expect from a theory of rational choice?p. 85
A new environmental ethic?p. 89
The moral considerability of the non-human worldp. 91
New ethics for old?p. 91
Moral considerabilityp. 93
Extending the boundaries of moral considerabilityp. 98
New theories for old?p. 108
Environment, meta-ethics and intrinsic valuep. 112
Meta-ethics and normative ethicsp. 113
Intrinsic valuep. 114
Is the rejection of meta-ethical realism compatible with an environmental ethic?p. 116
Objective value and the flourishing of living thingsp. 119
Environmental ethics through thick and thinp. 121
Nature and the naturalp. 125
Valuing the 'natural'p. 125
The complexity of 'nature'p. 126
Some distinctionsp. 126
Natural and artificialp. 128
Natural and culturalp. 131
Nature as wildernessp. 132
The value of natural thingsp. 134
Nature conservationp. 138
A paradox?p. 139
On restoring the value of naturep. 141
Restitutive ecologyp. 146
History, narrative and environmental goodsp. 148
The narratives of naturep. 151
Nature and narrativep. 153
Three walksp. 154
History and processes as sources of valuep. 155
Going back to nature?p. 158
Old worlds and newp. 162
Narrative and naturep. 163
Biodiversity: biology as biographyp. 165
The itemising approach to environmental valuesp. 167
The nature of biodiversity - conceptual clarificationsp. 167
The attractions of itemisationp. 170
Biodiversity and environmental sustainabilityp. 173
Time, history and biodiversityp. 175
The dangers of moral trumpsp. 179
Sustainability and human well-beingp. 183
Sustainability: of what, for whom and why?p. 183
Economic accounts of sustainabilityp. 185
Sustainability: weak and strongp. 186
Human well-being and subsistutabilityp. 189
From preferences to needsp. 193
Narrative, human well-being and sustainabilityp. 196
Sustainability without capitalp. 200
Public decisions and environmental goodsp. 202
Procedural rationality and deliberative institutionsp. 203
Decisions in contextp. 206
Responsibility and characterp. 212
What makes for good decisions?p. 215
Bibliographyp. 217
Indexp. 225
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