Callicott and Naess on pluralism

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):273 – 294 (1996)
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J. Baird Callicott has thrown down the gauntlet once again in the monism?pluralism debate in environmental ethics. In a recent article he argues that his ?communitarianism? (combined with a limited intertheoretic pluralism) is sufficient to get the advantages of pluralism advocated by his critics, while at the same time retaining the framework of moral monism. Callicott's attempt to set the record straight on the monism?pluralism debate has once again derailed us from answering the most important question in this discussion: how do we achieve a compatibilism among ethical theories which will inform better environmental practices? But if Callicott got it wrong, then who is getting it right? Arne Naess, whose work has heretofore been excluded from the mainstream discussion of this issue, has all along understood the heart of the monism?pluralism question. This paper updates the current state of the monism?pluralism debate, provides an answer to Callicott's latest challenge, and advances the thesis that all involved in this argument would do well to take a look at what Naess has to say on this issue



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Andrew Light
George Mason University