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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By focusing on these features nonanthropocentrists have argued for a new ethic of the environment based on a new theory of intrinsic value. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

In such a theory a work of art itself has an extrinsic, contributory value to an intrinsicly valuable aesthetic experi ence. Request removal from index. He argues that the general rejection of an thropocentrism so prevalent in environmental ethics is not required, and.

If it is wrong to destroy X, the wrongness must derive from harm to X or to some other natural object.

The latter theory holds that a nonhuman entity can also be a locus of such fundamental value. Such a position is not above criticism, as Rolston has pointed out. In this sense a rational world view is one held by those who are able to see what is good or environmentally sound be yond one’s own immediate p refe r enc es.

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

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.

A Typology of Corporate Environmental Policies. Environmental Value and Anthropocentrism. By such valuing of certain hu man experiences or states this ethic would allow for the censure or praise of actions done by humans toward the environment, in light of whether the actions hindered or aided in the realization of these ex periences.

One ought not to harm other humans unjustifiably. Nevertheless, even if Norton’s position is expanded in this way, some difficulties still remain. Should Extinction Be Forever? Bryan Norton has challenged this view and has proposed a modified or “weak” anthropocentrism as an ad equate basis for an environmental ethic.

I propose that a distinction be made between environmental ethics based on axiologies called “weakly nonanthropocentric” and those based on one “strongly no na nt h ropoce nt r ic. This meaning does not equate all value with human needs or interests, but still has humans that are doing the valuing. This kind of anthropocentric position is reflected in the subjectivist theory of aesthetic value. Noel Castree – – Ethics, Place and Environment 6 1: One can “rationally” calculate one ‘s best in terest, as well as adopt some “rationally” held world vie w.


You are commenting using your WordPress. These preferences are often used to determine ”interest” in economic decisions or policy judgments. The trust analogy presents us with two levels: In critiquing Norton’s proposal I will first present a brief gen eral discussion of axiologies based on the traditional anthropocentric theories of intrinsic value, noting briefly some problems for this theory of value; second, I will develop Norton’s own concept of weak anthro pocentrism as a solution to the problems in the previous theories; and finally, I will critique Norton’s position, showing its strengths and lim its and offer a modification of Norton’s concept that significantly im proves it.

Given the challenge made by both quantum physics and ecology to the traditional western ontologies, Norton needs to show what claims his po sition has made.

Weak anthropocentrism is still anthropocentrism, just anthropocenrrism environmentally friendly. Weak anthropocentrism provides a basis for criticizing individual, consumptive needs and can provide the basis for adjudicatingbetween these levels, thereby providing an adequate basis for environmental ethics without the questionable ontological commitments made by nonanthropocentrists in attributing intrinsie value to nature.

But one can harm something environmentql if it is a good in its own right in the sense of being a loci of fundamental value[16]. Since most environmentally envidonmental individuals would agree about the kinds of behavior to be censured or limited regarding the environment, the weak anthropoentric position can provide support for an environ mental ethic that can be of guidance for environmental policy makers.

Norton is aware of the need to reject this reduct ion. It is not inconceivable that human values may change in time, and that natural objects may not be valued over artificial objects that resemble the original, or that human preferences, felt or considered, may be for extensive artificial envi ro nme nt s. He ar gues that a modified anthropocentric axiology can be sufficient upon which to base a truly environmental et h ic.


He notes that in the stan dard anthropocentric position every instance of value originates in a contribution to hu man values and that all elements in nature can, at most, have value instrumental to the satisfaction of human inter ests[5]. It seems that Norton holds a world view to be “rational” in envirnmental it would be held by any or all persons once subjective, felt preferences are set asid e.

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 world view will create preferences that are favorable to the environment, only They must take human ideals seriously enough so that they can be set against preference satisfaction as a limit upon them.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism | existjg

It requires no radical, difficult-to wdak claims about the intrinsic value of nonhuman objects and, at the same time, it provides a framework for stating obligations that goes beyond concern for satisfying human concerns[7]. In the nonanthropocentric position it may be that while human beings are the source of all values, some nonhuman objects, Norton argues, can serve as the loci of fundamental value. This ideal, in turn, can be justified either on religious grounds refering to human spiritual development or as be ing a fitting part of a rationally defensible world view 22].

Anthropoxentrism long as it is felt preferences that determine the value of human actions, then no criticism norhon the use of natural objects for the satisfaction of felt preferences is possible, since there is no criteria deak deciding whether one felt pref erence is better than another. In this way, one could claim that a natural entity is valued not only for its value in satisfying human needs such as aestheitc satisfaction, scientific curiou sity, recreation needs, or spiritual renewal, but also just for what it is in itself.

It is compatible with utilitaritian views on which all that matters is the satisfaction of the interests of individual humans.

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