Theories Of Environmental Ethics

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THE "WHO" OF ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS We are used to thinking of ethics in personal or interpersonal terms. Ethics is the field of study that pertains to how we ought to act - toward ourselves and others. But the field of environmental ethics has invited us to think more broadly about who in fact are the subjects of ethics. Specifically, environmental ethics invites us to consider: That ethics is not only about the personal. Rather, it may be about how groups treat their members, or and how nations treat each other. That ethics pertains as well to how we act - not only toward ourselves and others - but also toward the natural world itself. In the past, the natural world was often the unseen participant in many situations of ethical significance.…show more content…
To the degree that environmental issues almost always involve actions that may have an effect on a wide variety of persons, such issues almost always require an assessment of our good in light of the common good. Because of this requirement to address the common good of many persons, environmental ethics are known as a branch of what is called "social ethics" (which we can distinguish from the less-peopled notion of "personal ethics"). Moreover, it is also important when engaging in environmental ethics to consider all of the different goods that figure in the common good. Of course, the goods of many different men and women figure in the common good. But environmental ethics and the concept of moral status invite us to look beyond only human goods. Rather, they invite us to consider that the common good includes human and non-human goods: That the common good includes not only those environmental conditions that enhance the fulfillment of men 's and women 's lives but that the common good also includes the well-being of the natural world for its own
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