Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions / Edition 1

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Through a series of multidisciplinary readings, Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions contextualizes environmental ethics within the history of Western intellectual tradition and traces the development of theory since the 1970s.

  • Includes an extended introduction that provides an historical and thematic introduction to the field of environmental ethics
  • Features a selection of brief original essays on why to study environmental ethics by leaders in the field
  • Contextualizes environmental ethics within the history of the Western intellectual tradition by exploring anthropocentric (human-centered) and nonanthropocentric precedents
  • Offers an interdisciplinary approach to the field by featuring seminal work from eminent philosophers, biologists, ecologists, historians, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, nature writers, business writers, and others
  • Designed to be used with a web-site which contains a continuously updated archive of case studies:


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Overall, Environmental Ethics: the big questions is an essential text for anyone looking to get to grips with key thinkers and their contributions to this new and burgeoning domain of ethics. Whilst challenging at times, the variety of papers in terms of both inter-disciplinary and difficulty is wide, allowing readers to effectively engage irrespective of background. Further, the layout is clear and general binding and page quality high to ensure this can remain an indispensable reference text for the future.”  (The Guardian, 26 November 2013)

Featured in The Guardian - 26 November 2013

“Overall, Environmental Ethics: the big questionsis an essential text for anyone looking to get to grips with key thinkers and their contributions to this new and burgeoning domain of ethics. Whilst challenging at times, the variety of papers in terms of both inter-disciplinary and difficulty is wide, allowing readers to effectively engage irrespective of background. Further, the layout is clear and general binding and page quality high to ensure this can remain an indispensable reference text for many years to come.”  (Economics & Philosophy, 1 November 2013)

"The major strength of the book is the fact that it evolved from a classroom course on environmental ethics. The different texts are selected, put together and introduced by an experienced teacher. As such, the selection of text has already proven successful and instructive. The editor has put an enormous amount of effort into selecting the right texts, which took him, according to the preface, over four years." (Ethical Perspectives, 2011)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405176385
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/22/2010
  • Series: Philosophy: The Big Questions Series, #5
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 600
  • Sales rank: 321,423
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David R. Keller is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. He is co-editor of The Philosophy of Ecology: From Science to Synthesis (with Frank Golley, 2000), and co-author of Ethics in Action (with Peggy Connolly, Becky Cox-White, and Martin G. Leever, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), a case-based approach to introducing ethics and environmental issues.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Preface.

Part II. What is the Proper Suject-Matter of Moral Philosophy? A Brief Overview of Environmental Ethics: David Keller.

Part III. Why Study Environmental Ethics?.

Essays by:.

Emily Brady.

Isis Brook.

Baird Callicott.

Victoria Davion.

Frederick Ferré.

Warwick Fox.

Greta Gaard.

John Granrose.

Gene Hargrove.

Andrew Light.

Bryan Norton.

Clare Palmer.

Holmes Rolston.

David Rothenberg.

Mark Sagoff.

George Sessions.

Peter Singer.

Ian Smith.

James Sterba.

Karen Warren.

Michael Zimmerman.


1. Introduction.

2. Humans as Moral Ends: Saint Thomas Aquinas from Summa Contra Gentiles.

3. The Mastery of Nature: Francis Bacon from The Great Instauration.

4. Nonhumans as Machines: Rene Descartes from Discourse on the Method.

5. The Amoral Status of Nature: John Stuart Mill from “Nature”.

6. Nature as Economic Resource: John Locke from “Of Property”.

7. Indirect Duties to Nonhumans: Immanuel Kant from Lectures on Ethics.

8. Mechanistic Metaphysics: Isaac Newton fromOpticks.

9. In Defense of Anthropocentrism: Wilfred Beckerman and Joanna Pasek from Justice, Posterity, and the Environment.


10. Introduction.

11. Walking: Henry David Thoreau from Excursions.

12. The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West: John Muir from Our National Parks and The Yosemite.

13. Is There a Need for a New, an Environmental, Ethic?: Richard Routley from Proceedings of teh XVth World Congress of Philosophy.

14. Attitudes to Nature: John Passmore from Nature and Conduct.

15. Should Trees Have Standing?: Christopher D. Stone from the Southern California Law Review Vol. 45.

16. The Varieties of Intrinsic Value: John O'Neill from The Monist Vol. 75.

17. Value in Nature and the Nature of Value: Holmes Rolston.

18. The End of Anthropocentrism?: Mary Midgley from Philosophy and the Natural Environment.

19. Is the Crown of Creation a Dunce Cap?: Chip Ward.


20. Introduction.

21. All Animals are Equal: Peter Singer from Philosophical Exchange vol. 1.

22. The Case for Animal Rights: Tom Reagan from In Defense of Animals and “Animal Rights, Human Wrongs”.

23. On Being Morally Considerable: Kenneth E. Goodpaster from The Journal of Philosophy.

24. The Ethics of Respect for Nature: Paul W. Taylor from Environmental Ethics vol. 3.

25. The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: Arne Naess from Inquiry vol. 16.

26. The Heart of Deep Ecology: Tom McLaughlin from Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century.

27. The Deep Ecology Movement: Arne Naess from Philisophical Inquiry vol. VIII.

28. Transpersonal Ecology as a Distinctive Approach to Ecophilosophy: Warwick Fox from Toward a Transpersonal Ecology.

29. The Land Ethic: Aldo Leopold from A Sand County Almanac.

30. Conceptual Foundations of the Land Ethic: J. Baird Callicott from In Defense of the Land Ethic.

31. Gaia As Seen Through the Atmosphere: James Lovelock from Atmospheric Environment vol. 6.

32. Kantians and Utilitarians and the Moral Status of Nonhuman Life: James P. Sterba from The Triumph of Practice Over Theory in Ethics.

33. Persons in Nature: Frederick Ferré from Ethics in teh Environment vol. 1.

34. General Ethics: Fox from Developing a General Ethics: An Introduction to the Theory of Responsive Cohesion Part VII. WHAT ARE PROMINENT ALTERNATIVES TO GROUNDING ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS IN MORAL EXTENSIONISM?.

35. Introduction.

36. What is Social Ecology?: Murray Bookchin from Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology.

37. Socialism and Ecology: James O'Connor from Capitalism, Nature, Socialism vol. 2.

38. The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism: Karen J. Warren from Environmental Ethics vol. 12.

39. Ecofeminism and Feminist Theory: Carolyn Merchant from Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism and Feminism and the Philosophy of Nature: Carolyn Merchant from The Death of Nature.

40. Nature, Self, and Gender: A Critique of Rationalism: Val Plumwood from Hypatia vol. 6.

41. Environmental Virtue Ethics: Sandler from Environmental Virtue Ethics.

42. Continental Environmental Ethics: Vogel, “Nature as Origin and Difference”.

43. Beyond Intrinsic Value: Pragmatism in Environmental Ethics: Anthony Weston from Environmental Ethics vol. 7.

44. The Case For a Practical Pluralism: Andrew Light from Environmental Ethics.

45. Earth First!: David Foreman The Progressive vol. 45.

46. The Ethics of Ecological Sabotage: An Exchange from Environmental vol. 4.

a. “Ecological Sabotage: Pranks or Terrorism?”: Hargrove.

b. “Earth First! and the Monkey Wrench Gang”: Edward Abbey.

c. “More on Earth First! and The Monkey Wrench Gang”: David Foreman.

d. Response: Hargrove.


47. Introduction.

48. Subjectivist Environmental Ethics: Elliot from Meta-Ethics and Environmental Ethics.

49. How to Construe Nature: Roger J. H. King from Between the Species.

50. The Trouble with Wilderness: William Cronon.

51. Ecological Realism: Shepard from “Virtually Hunting Reality in the Forests of Simulacra”.

52. Environmental Ethics and the Philosophy of Technology: Rothenberg from Hand’s End.


53. Introduction.

54. Ecology—A Subversive Subject: Paul B. Sears.

55. What is Conservation Biology?: Michael E. Soulé from BioScience vol. 35.

56. Environmental Ethics and Ecological Science: Mark Sagoff from Environmental Ethics and International Policy.

57. The Metaphysical Implications of Ecology: J. Baird Callicott from Environmental Ethics vol. 7.

58. The Ends of the World as We Know Them: Jared Diamond from The New York Times.


A. Introduction.

59. An Essay on the Principle of Population: Thomas Malthus.

60. The Tragedy of the Commons: Garrett Hardin from Science vol. 162 and Ethical Implications of Carrying Capacity: Garrett Hardin from Managing the Commons and The Immorality of Being Softhearted: Garrett Hardin from The Relevant Scientist.

61. Impact of Population Growth: Paul R. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren from Science vol. 171.

62. How Poverty Breeds Overpopulation: Barry Commoner from Ramparts vol. 13.

63. More People, Greater Wealth, More Resources, Healthier Environment: Julian L. Simon from Economic Affairs.

64. Population: Delusion and Reality: Amartya Sen from The New York Review of Books.

65. A Special Moment in History: The Future of Population: Bill McKibben from The Atlantic Monthly.

66. Nature as the Measure for a Sustainable Agriculture: Wes Jackson from Ecology, Economics, Ethics- The Broken Circle.

67. Putting Food Production in Context: Toward a Postmechanistic Agricultural Ethic: David R. Keller and E. Charles Brummer from BioScience vol. 52.

68. Environmental Justice for All: Robert D. Bullard from Unequal Protection.

69. Just Garbage: Peter S. Wenz from Faces of Environmental Racism.

70. A Declaration of Sustainability: Paul Hawken from the UTNE Reader.

71. Steady-State Economy: Herman E. Daly from Valuing the Earth.

72. The Triple-Bottom Line: John Elkington from Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of the 21st Century Business.

73. The Ignorance Argument: Bryan Norton from Economics, Ethics, and Environmental Policy.

74. Environmental Justice and Intergenerational Debt: Clark Wolf from Blackwell Companion to Environmental Philosophy.

75. The Environmental Limits to Globalization: David Ehrenfeld from Conservation Biology vol. 19.


76. The Future of Environmental Ethics: Holmes Rolston III.



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