214Sp07PP7 07-04-17

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Value and Nature : 

Value and Nature Extending Ethics to the Environment

Nature includes: : 

Nature includes: Animals Plants Ecosystems Species Humans? The Issue: Why are these things valuable? Why should we care about them?

The Moral Community : 

The Moral Community Beings outside the moral community. Beings inside the moral community X X X X X X X When we think about what is morally right, the beings inside the moral community must be taken into consideration. (They are “morally considrable.”)

The Moral Community : 

The Moral Community Beings outside the moral community. X X X X When we think about what is morally right, the beings inside the moral Community must be taken into consideration. (They are “morally considrable.”) Morally responsible beings. Morally valuable beings. X X X X

Two types of value : 

Two types of value Intrinsic value: The value a thing has in itself. Extrinsic (instrumental) value: The value a thing has because it is useful or valuable to a thing of intrinsic value.

The Moral Community : 

The Moral Community Not valuable In themselves. Intrinsically valuable. (That is valuable in themselves) X X X X X X X Discussion: What kinds of beings do you think are valuable in themselves?

“Traditional” Ethics on Value : 

“Traditional” Ethics on Value Anthropocentrism: Humans are intrinsically valuable (members of the moral community). Other things in the environment are valuable because they are important to humans. “Traditional ethics” has often taken this approach.

The Moral CommunityThe Anthropocentric View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Anthropocentric View Non-humans. Humans X X X X X X X Humans are intrinsically valuable. Other beings are extrinsically valuable or valuable because of their value to humans.

Some Anthropocentric Theories of Ethics: : 

Some Anthropocentric Theories of Ethics: Natural Rights: Human beings have inherent rights. Human rights must be protected (by law, etc.) Other things do not have “rights.” Kantianism: Human beings have inherent worth (because they are rational). Other animals and plants do not have inherent worth, since they are not rational. (Anthropocentric) Utilitarianism: The morally right policies maximize the amount of (human) happiness in the world. (Anthropocentric) Religious ethics: God made humans in his images, and everything else is made for humans. (That is, everything else is valuable if it is valuable to humans, otherwise not.) Discussion: But why should humans have value, rights, etc., that other things do not? What makes animals, trees, and ecosystems valuable?

Questioning the Anthropocentric Approach to Value in Nature : 

Questioning the Anthropocentric Approach to Value in Nature Key questions: Are humans the only things in the world that are valuable in themselves? Is everything else only valuable because it is valuable to humans? Why should humans be placed inside the circle and other beings on the outside? What would we call it if we placed only people of one race inside the circle just because of their race? Is it any different if we place only beings in one species inside the circle just because of their species? Is there a relevant different between humans and nonhumans that makes the former intrinsically valuable and the latter not?

Non-Anthropocentric Approaches to Ethics : 

Non-Anthropocentric Approaches to Ethics Sentientism: All beings that have the capacity to feel pleasure and pain (Singer)/the ability to experience life as a subject (Regan) are intrinsically valuable, and must be considered for their own good, not just human good. Thus higher animals have moral considerability/ inherent worth.

The Moral CommunityThe Sentientist View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Sentientist View Non-sentient beings. Sentient beings X X X X X X X Beings that are “sentient” (those with a devleoped psychological capacitites which enable them to feel pleasure and pain and/or to experience life as subjects) have intrinsic value. They are morally considerable.

A Sentientist Rights Argument : 

A Sentientist Rights Argument What makes humans valuable is that we are conscious of ourselves and value our own lives and well-being, regardless of how others value them. Some other animals (e.g. mammals and others) are also conscious of themselves and value their own lives and well being, regardless of how we value them. Thus if humans have value in themselves, these other animals do as well, and should be recognized to have similar rights. Key Question: What makes our lives and persons more valuable than those of other animals, if each values its life?

A Sentientist Utilitarian Argument : 

A Sentientist Utilitarian Argument According to Utilitarianism pleasure (happiness) is good, and pain is bad, and we should maximize pleasure in the world. If this is so, we should weigh all pleasure and pain? Thus we should take into consideration the pleasure and pain of any being that can experience pleasure and pain when we decide what is moral. Question: What makes human pleasure and pain any more important than the pleasure and pain of other animals?

Slide 15: 

Sentientism is sometimes called the “animal rights” view. What implications would this view have? How would a sentientist believe we should live?

Non-Anthropocentric Approaches to Ethics : 

Non-Anthropocentric Approaches to Ethics Sentientism: All beings that have the capacity to feel pleasure and pain (Singer)/the ability to experience life as a subject (Regan) are intrinsically valuable, and must be considered for their own good, not just human good. Thus higher animals have moral considerability/ inherent worth. Biocentrism: All living beings are instrisically valuable; they are valuable in themselves, with their own benefits or harms, since they are systems with goals (teleological systems). The benefits and harms of all living things be considered morally. (Schwietzer)

The Moral CommunityThe Biocentric View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Biocentric View Non-living things. All living things. X X X X X X X All living beings are “teleological systems,” and can thus be benefited or harmed. All benefit or harm must be taken into consideration in moral deliberation.

Albert Schwietzer (1875-1965) : 

Albert Schwietzer (1875-1965) I am life which wills to live, in the midst of life which wills to live. As in my own will-to-live there is a longing for wider life and pleasure, with dread of annihilation and pain; so is it also in the will-to-live all around me, whether it can express itself before me or remains dumb. The will-to-live is everywhere present, even as in me. If I am a thinking being, I must regard life other than my own with equal reverence, for I shall know that it longs for fullness and development as deeply as I do myself. Therefore, I see that evil is what annihilates, hampers, or hinders life. And this holds true whether I regard it physically or spiritually. Goodness, by the same token, is the saving or helping of life, the enabling of whatever life I can to attain its highest development.

Slide 19: 

In me the will-to-live has come to know about other wills-to-live. There is in it a yearning to arrive at unity with itself, to become universal. I can do nothing but hold to the fact that the will-to-live in me manifests itself as will-to-live which desires to become one with other will-to-live.  Ethics consist in my experiencing the compulsion to show to all will-to-live the same reverence as I do my own. A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives. If I save an insect from a puddle, life has devoted itself to life, and the division of life against itself has ended. Whenever my life devotes itself in any way to life, my finite will-to-live experiences union with the infinite will in which all life is one.

Discussion : 

Discussion Do you see any ways in which Schweitzer’s view is similar to any of the religious views we have considered? How do you think a biocentrist would live?

The Moral CommunityThe Anthropocentric View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Anthropocentric View Non-humans. Humans X X X X X X X Humans are intrinsically valuable. Other beings are extrinsically valuable or valuable because of their value to humans.

The Moral CommunityThe Sentientist View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Sentientist View Non-sentient beings. Sentient beings X X X X X X X Beings that are “sentient” (those with a devleoped psychological capacitites which enable them to feel pleasure and pain and/or to experience life as subjects) have intrinsic value. They are morally considerable.

The Moral CommunityThe Biocentric View : 

The Moral CommunityThe Biocentric View Non-living things. All living things. X X X X X X X All living beings are “teleological systems,” and can thus be benefited or harmed. All benefit or harm must be taken into consideration in moral deliberation.

Key Questions: : 

Key Questions: What beings are valuable in themselves? Why?

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