Bryan G.· Norton, “Environmental Ethics and Weak. Anth ropocentrism,” Environmental Ethics,. Vol. 6, No.2 (Summer ), pp. Anthropocentrism is. In Bryan G. Norton’s article entitled, “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” Norton explains his perspective of how an adequate environmental. A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism. Blog Environmentalists have struggled with a pragmatic.

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And by doing so the power of the weak environkental position stands forth, so much so that many of the nonanthropocentric positions that were examined can be seen as variations of weak anthropocentrism. He distinguishes between a strong and a weak form of anthropocentrism present in various value theories and, by using the weak form only, he allows for adjudication of conflicts of actions and interests in environ mental issues without recourse to locating intrinsic value in natural ob jects.

Most writers apply this term to positions which treat humans as the only locus of intrinsic value. Duckworth,p. In Skolimowski’s view any environmental ethic cannot help but to be anthropocentric, even in the axiologies of intrinsic value.

Alaskan hunters use airplanes to track and shoot wolves in the wild. At best a strongly anthropocentric value theory could provide a theory for the best use of the environment, with “best use” determined by felt preferences of individuals. Added to PP index Total downloads 22, of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 42 9, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? William Grey – – Ethics and the Environment 3 1: Norton seems to believe that if we were only a little more wise, a little more rational, if we would only learn from ecology and evolu tion, we would then create a rationally held world view that would guide us to environmentally sound considered preferences.

But it can be argued that much of the history of the exploitation of nature represents not the activity of “felt preferences” but of another rationally held world view, i. A Typology of Corporate Environmental Policies. The other benefit of his position, Norton believes, is that it is non – individualistic, unlike most contemporary ethical systems.


Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

To be sure, there are some world views that do create environmentally acceptable considered pref erences he mentions the Jains and Hindus, as well as Thoreaubut there is no argument by Norton showing why a rationally adopted anthrlpocentrism view will create preferences that are favorable to the environment, only Norton attempts to present an adequate anthropocentric environmen tal ethic by first noting that there is an ambiguity in the term anthro pocentrism.

The weakly anthropocentric view makes possible the kind of environmental ethics described earlier wnd Callicott, that is, an ethic that provides reasons to praise or censure certain human actions toward the environ ment. Anthropocentrists are therefore taken to believe that every instance of value originates in a contribution ans human values and that all elements of nature can, at most, have value instrumental to the satisfaction of human inter ests[15].

Thus, strong anthropocentrism places value on the satisfaction of individual felt preferences, while weak anthropocentrism fulfills some felt preferences but emphasizes considered preferences as the central determinate factor of values.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: To further explain his theories, Norton defines a few terms.

Environmental Ethics 6 2: Norton sees the function of intrinsic or inherent value as basic to standard preservation arguments. The latter, called allocational decisions, are not reducible to the former and govern the use of resources across extended time.

The weak anthropo centric position can, among other things, provide a reply to the “last person” scenario mentioned earlier, something the strongly anthropocen tric position cannot do.

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He holds, rather, that such a posi tion, if developed, would support his already existing adequate posi tion. But as long as the danger exists of people coming to prefer plastic anthropocentrksm and internal problems as well remain, the wise plan of action would be to provide an environmental anthroppcentrism based on a nonanthropocentric axiology as well.

Norton argues that both the contemporary utilitarian and deontological positions are essentially individualistic in that “the basic unit of ethical concerns are interests or claims of individuals. This position holds that environmebtal we come to know and value about nature is structured by our human perspective.


Norton holds that he has shown that environmental policy makers need not choose between strong anthropocentrism, the view that nature has value only for fulfilling the demands that our currently misguided society register, and nonanthropocentrism, which posits in trinsic value for nonhuman species. This site uses cookies. As noted earlier, Norton has not clearly indicated just what things can, from a weak anthropocentric view, athropocentrism of intrinsic value, and al though he appears to be in favor of allowing people to attribute intrin sic value to nonhuman entities, his position still focuses on human val ues that place intrinsic value in human states or expe r ie nce s.

Hume’s Knave and Nonanthropocentric Virtues.

Bryan G. Norton, Environmental ethics and weak anthropocentrism – PhilPapers

But it should be noted that by the same rea soning the same act of strip mining the area could be commended in that the act was contributory to the realization of happiness to the stockholders of the mining company due to the financial profit made from the mining.

Nevertheless, even if Norton’s position is expanded in this way, some difficulties still remain. Help Center Find new research papers in: This site uses cookies. Consider aerial hunting in Alaska. This position recognizes that some preferences can be considered, i. One ought not to harm other humans unjustifiably 2.

A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

Hen ryk Skolimowski makes this clear when he says that: In some cases, hunters use this practice to anthropocentirsm the interests of humans, however in most cases, the wolves are killed for sport.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Such a collapse would occur if “all values can, ultimately, be int e r p ret ed as satisfaction of pr efe re nce s.