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Deane-Drummond, Celia, and . Gaia as Science Made Myth: Implications for Environmental Ethics

1996, Studies in Christian Ethics 9(2): 1-5.

Content: Offers a critical discussion of the Gaia hypothesis in the context of human responsibility for climate change.

Comment: Might be useful for environmental ethics, or as further reading on methodology of science and the dangers of confusing science and myth.

Lawson, Bill E., and . The Value of Environmental Justice

2008, Environmental Justice 1 (3): 155-158.

Abstract: Environmental justice, at least, entails preserving the environment as a global entity, but also making those persons who feel, have felt, have been, or are victims of environmental crimes and atrocities feel as if they are part of the solution as full members of the human community and not just the environmental dumping ground for the well-off.

Comment: This text is a quick introduction to the problem of responsibility for environmental injustices. It makes a good conversation starter for why some individuals do not feel responsible for environmental atrocities, specifically in the context of environmental racism. It would fit well in a class that discussed justice, environmental justice (racism or NIMBY more generally), or collective responsibility.

McShane, Katie, and . Neosentimentalism and Environmental Ethics

2011, Environmental Ethics, 33 (1): 5-23.

Abstract: Neosentimentalism provides environmental ethics with a theory of value that might be particularly useful for solving many of the problems that have plagued the field since its early days. In particular, a neosentimentalist understanding of value offers us hope for making sense of (1) what intrinsic value might be and how we could know whether parts of the natural world have it; (2) the extent to which value is an essentially anthropocentric concept; and (3) how our understanding of value could be compatible with both a respectable naturalism and a robust normativity.

Comment: This reading is could be used well as a response to Rolston or Callicott's versions of environmental value. The article also covers a number of problems endemic to formal value theory (especially a neosentimentalist theory of the nature of value). It would work best in an upper level undergraduate course on value theory or environmental ethics.

Ruether, Rosemary R., and . Symbolic and Social Connections of the Oppression of Women and the Domination of Nature

1999, in Adams, C. J. (eds), Ecofeminism and the sacred, New York: Continuum.

Comment: This text offers an introduction to ecofeminism. It discusses the history of associating maleness with culture and femaleness with nature and identifies some of the issues which led to the current ecological crisis. The text has the potential to challenge received views and inspire a lively discussion, and as such it is best used as an introductory text in classes on environmental ethics and on feminist ethics.


Schrader-Frechette, Kristin, and . Individualism, Holism, and Environmental Ethics

1996, Ethics and the Environment, 1 (1): 55-69.

Abstract: Neoclassical economists have been telling us for years that if we behave in egoistic, individualistic ways, the invisible hand of the market will guide us to efficient and sustainable futures. Many contemporary Greens also have been assuring us that if we behave in holistic ways, the invisible hand of ecology will guide us to health and sustainable futures. This essay argues that neither individualism nor holism will provide environmental sustainability. There is no invisible hand, either in economics or in ecology. Humans have no guaranteed tenure in the biosphere. Likewise there is no philosophical quick fix for environmental problems, either through the ethical individualism of Feinberg, Frankena, and Regan, or through the ecological holism of Callicott and Leopold. The correct path is more complex and tortuous than either of these ways. The essay argues that the best way to reach a sustainable environmental future probably is through a middle path best described as “hierarchical holism.”.

Comment: This text intervenes in the debate over holism and individualism in environmental ethics--specifically, as it concerns questions of environmental protection and conservation. It would fit well in a course on environmental ethics that discusses questions of either the metaphysics of nature or the nature of value.

Sterrett, Susan G., and . The morals of model-making

2014, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 26: 31- 45.

Abstract: I address questions about values in model-making in engineering, specifically: Might the role of values be attributable solely to interests involved in specifying and using the model? Selected examples illustrate the surprisingly wide variety of things one must take into account in the model-making itself. The notions of system , and physically similar systems are important and powerful in determining what is relevant to an engineering model. Another example illustrates how an idea to completely re-characterize, or reframe, an engineering problem arose during model-making.I employ a qualitative analogue of the notion of physically similar systems. Historical cases can thus be drawn upon; I illustrate with a comparison between a geoengineering proposal to inject, or spray, sulfate aerosols, and two different historical cases involving the spraying of DDT . The current geoengineering proposal is seen to be like the disastrous and counterproductive case, and unlike the successful case, of the spraying of DDT. I conclude by explaining my view that model-making in science is analogous to moral perception in action, drawing on a view in moral theory that has come to be called moral particularism.

Comment: Further reading, particulary in relation to geoengineering responses to climate change. Also of interest in relation to engineering & technology ethics.

Telfer, Elizabeth, and . Food for Thought: Philosophy and Food

1996, New York: Routledge.

Summary: The importance of food in our individual lives raises moral questions from the debate over eating animals to the prominence of gourmet cookery in the popular media. Through philosophy, Elizabeth Telfer discusses issues including our obligations to those who are starving; the value of the pleasure of food; food as art; our duties to animals; and the moral virtues of hospitableness and temperance. Elizabeth Telfer shows how much traditional philosophy, from Plato to John Stuart Mill, has to say to illuminate this everyday yet complex subject.

Comment: This book could serve as a main text for a course on an introductory course on ethical aspects of food, eating, and food distribution. Some chapters may also be of use in other sorts of courses: there are chapters on hunger and starvation (for a course that considers poverty), food as art (for a course concerning aesthetics or taste), and food and hospitality (for a course concerning hospitality, friendship, or entertaining).

Thompson, Janna, and . Aesthetics and the Value of Nature

1995, Environmental Ethics, 17 (3): 291-305.

Abstract: Like many environmental philosophers, I find the idea that the beauty of wildernesses makes them valuable in their own right and gives us a moral duty to preserve and protect them to be attractive. However, this appeal to aesthetic value encounters a number of serious problems. I argue that these problems can best be met and overcome by recognizing that the appreciation of natural environments and the appreciation of great works of arts are activities more similar than many people have supposed.

Comment: This text provides a clear introduction to the question of environmental beauty and value. Thompson surveys aesthetic theories of environmental value as they provide reasons for environmental protection. She also provides a number of useful comparisons between art criticism and the appreciation of nature/the value of art and the value of nature. This text would fit well in an introductory course on art, beauty, environmental ethics, or value theory.

Warren, Karen J., and . Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters

2000, New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Summary: A philosophical exploration of the nature, scope, and significance of ecofeminist theory and practice. This book presents the key issues, concepts, and arguments which motivate and sustain ecofeminism from a western philosophical perspective.

Back Matter: How are the unjustified dominations of women and other humans connected to the unjustified domination of animals and nonhuman nature? What are the characteristics of oppressive conceptual frameworks and systems of unjustified domination? How does an ecofeminist perspective help one understand issues of environmental and social justice? In this important new work, Karen J. Warren answers these and other questions from a Western perspective. Warren looks at the variety of positions in ecofeminism, the distinctive nature of ecofeminist philosophy, ecofeminism as an ecological position, and other aspects of the movement to reveal its significance to both understanding and creatively changing patriarchal (and other) systems of unjustified domination.

Comment: This book serves as a comprehensive introduction to ecofeminist philosophy. The introductory chapter (1), the chapter on vegetarianism (6), and the chapter on the Land Ethic (7) make excellent stand alone readings in an introductory course on Environmental Ethics.