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Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (25th Anniversary Edition) / Edition 25

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Overview

What rational justification is there for conceiving of all living things as possessing inherent worth? In Respect for Nature, Paul Taylor draws on biology, moral philosophy, and environmental science to defend a biocentric environmental ethic in which all life has value. Without making claims for the moral rights of plants and animals, he offers a reasoned alternative to the prevailing anthropocentric view—that the natural environment and its wildlife are valued only as objects for human use or enjoyment. Respect for Nature provides both a full account of the biological conditions for life—human or otherwise—and a comprehensive view of the complex relationship between human beings and the whole of nature.

This classic book remains a valuable resource for philosophers, biologists, and environmentalists alike—along with all those who care about the future of life on Earth. A new foreword by Dale Jamieson looks at how the original 1986 edition of Respect for Nature has shaped the study of environmental ethics, and shows why the work remains relevant to debates today.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul W. Taylor is professor emeritus of philosophy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the 25th Anniversary Edition ix

Acknowledgments Xiii

1 Environmental Ethics and Human Ethics 3

1 Introduction 3

2 Moral Agents and Moral Subjects 14

3 Formal Conditions for Valid Moral Principles 25

4 Material Conditions for Valid Moral Principles: The Content of Human Ethics 33

5 The Structural Symmetry between Human Ethics and Environmental Ethics 41

6 Biology and Ethics 47

7 A Note on the Ethics of the Bioculture 53

2 The Attitude of Respect for Nature 59

1 Introduction 59

2 The Concept of the Good of a Being 60

3 The Concept of Inherent Worth 71

4 Having and Expressing the Attitude of Respect for Nature 80

5 Respect for Nature as an Ultimate Attitude 90

3 The Biocentric Outlook on Nature 99

1 The Biocentric Outlook and the Attitude of Respect for Nature 99

2 Humans as Members of the Earth's Community of Life 101

3 The Natural World as a System of Interdependence 116

4 Individual Organisms as Teleological Centers of Life 119

5 The Denial of Human Superiority 129

6 The Argument for the Biocentric Outlook 156

4 The Ethical System 169

1 The Basic Rules of Conduct 169

2 Priority Principles 192

3 The Basic Standards of Virtue 198

5 Do Animals and Plants Have Rights? 219

1 Legal Rights and Moral Rights 219

2 Analysis of the Assertion of Moral Rights 226

3 The Defeasibility of Rights 241

4 Is If Logically Conceivable for Animals and/or Plants to Have Moral Rights? 245

5 A Modified Concept of Moral Rights 251

6 Competing Claims and Priority Principles 256

1 The General Problem of Competing Claims 256

2 Human Rights and the Inherent Worth of Nonhumans 260

3 Five Priority Principles for the Fair Resolution of Conflicting Claims 263

a The Principle of Self-Defense 264

b The Principle of Proportionality 269

c The Principle of Minimum Wrong 280

d The Principle of Distributive Justice 291

e The Principle of Restitutive Justice 304

4 The Ethical Ideal of Harmony between Human Civilization and Nature 307

5 The Normative Function of the Ethical Ideal 310

Bibliography 315

Index 325

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