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Humphreys, Rebekah , , . Biocentrism
2016, Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, Springer
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The orthodox approach to the environment and its inhabitants is deemed to be anthropocentric in that it recognises the moral standing of human beings alone, and as such other beings are given at the most indirect moral consideration when their interests conflict with the interests of humans. However, many global environmental problems and worldwide practices directly affect not just human beings but many other creatures too. In the light of this, the anthropocentric approach has been accused by some philosophers of being too narrowly focused on human interests to creditably account for the true extent of our moral obligations. This article provides a conceptual outline of biocentrism as an alternative approach to ethics; one which widens the moral scope to include all living beings as candidates deserving of moral consideration. The article also discusses how this approach might be applied to contemporary ethical issues which are international in their dimension, including environmental issues, as well as issues concerning our use of animals in worldwide human practices.

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Schrader-Frechette, Kristin, , . Individualism, Holism, and Environmental Ethics
1996, Ethics and the Environment, 1 (1): 55-69.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

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.

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Warren, Karen J., , . Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters
2000, New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

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.

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