Environmental Values / Edition 1

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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. Underfying 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 of integrating human needs with environmental protection through 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.

About the Author:
John O'Neill is Professor of Political Economy at The University of Manchester

About the Author:
Alan Holland is Emeritus Professor of Applied Philosophy at LancasterUniversity

About the Author:
Andrew Light is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Environmental Values is an excellent book, easy to read, and relatively short." — Richard Haynes, Ecological Restoration, Vol. 26, No. 1

Environmental Values covers an extraordinary amount of ground with clarity and precision. It distils key ideas from leading thinkers in environmental philosophy into one tightly argued volume. It offers both careful, accurate summaries of existing positions and an original, stuimulating position of its own. I highly recommend it. Clare Palmer, Geographical Journal

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Product Details

Meet the Author

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 Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures     viii
Aknowledgements     ix
Values and the environment     1
Environments and values     1
Living from the world     1
Living in the world     2
Living with the world     3
Addressing value conflicts     4
Value conflicts     4
The distribution of goods and harms     5
Addressing conflicts     5
Utilitarian approaches to environmental decision making     11
Human well-being and the natural world     13
Introduction     13
Welfare: hedonism, preferences and objective lists     15
The hedonistic account of well-being     15
Bentham and the felicific calculus     15
John Stuart Mill     16
Preference utilitarianism     21
Objectivist accounts of welfare     24
Whose well-being counts?     26
Making comparisons: utilitarianism, economics and efficiency     27
Consequentialism and its critics     31
Introduction     31
Consequentialism permits too much     32
What is the problem with consequentialism? The moral standing of individuals     33
Rights, conflictsand community     36
Consequentialism demands too much     39
What is the problem with consequentialism? Agent-based restrictions on action     40
Virtues and environmental concern     41
Consequentialist responses     43
Indirect utilitarianism     44
Extend the account of the good     46
Ethical pluralism and the limits of theory     47
Equality, justice and environment     49
Utilitarianism and distribution     50
Equality in moral standing     52
Indirect utilitarian arguments for distributive equality     53
Economics, efficiency and equality     54
Willingness to pay     55
The Kaldor-Hicks compensation test     56
Discounting the future     57
Egalitarian ethics     58
Consequentialism without maximisation     59
The priority view     59
Telic egalitarianism     60
Deontological responses     62
Community, character and equality     64
Equality of what?     67
Value pluralism, value commensurability and environmental choice     70
Value monism     72
Value pluralism      74
Trading-off values     75
Constitutive incommensurabilities     77
Value pluralism, consequentialism, and the alternatives     79
Structural pluralism     81
Choice without commensurability     83
What can we expect from a theory of rational choice?     85
A new environmental ethic?     89
The moral considerability of the non-human world     91
New ethics for old?     91
Moral considerability     93
Extending the boundaries of moral considerability     98
New theories for old?     108
Environment, meta-ethics and intrinsic value     112
Meta-ethics and normative ethics     113
Intrinsic value     114
Is the rejection of meta-ethical realism compatible with an environmental ethic?     116
Objective value and the flourishing of living things     119
Environmental ethics through thick and thin     121
Nature and the natural     125
Valuing the 'natural'     125
The complexity of 'nature'     126
Some distinctions     126
Natural and artificial     128
Natural and cultural     131
Nature as wilderness      132
The value of natural things     134
Nature conservation     138
A paradox?     139
On restoring the value of nature     141
Restitutive ecology     146
History, narrative and environmental goods     148
The narratives of nature     151
Nature and narrative     153
Three walks     154
History and processes as sources of value     155
Going back to nature?     158
Old worlds and new     162
Narrative and nature     163
Biodiversity: biology as biography     165
The itemising approach to environmental values     167
The nature of biodiversity - conceptual clarifications     167
The attractions of itemisation     170
Biodiversity and environmental sustainability     173
Time, history and biodiversity     175
The dangers of moral trumps     179
Sustainability and human well-being     183
Sustainability: of what, for whom and why?     183
Economic accounts of sustainability     185
Sustainability: weak and strong     186
Human well-being and subsistutability     189
From preferences to needs      193
Narrative, human well-being and sustainability     196
Sustainability without capital     200
Public decisions and environmental goods     202
Procedural rationality and deliberative institutions     203
Decisions in context     206
Responsibility and character     212
What makes for good decisions?     215
Bibliography     217
Index     225
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