Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (3):301-317 (2015)

Roberta L. Millstein
University of California, Davis
Many philosophers have become familiar with Leopold’s land ethic through the writings of J. Baird Callicott, who claims that Leopold bases his land ethic on a ‘protosociobiological’ argument that Darwin gives in the Descent of Man. On this view, which has become the canonical interpretation, Leopold’s land ethic is based on extending our moral sentiments to ecosystems. I argue that the evidence weighs in favor of an alternative interpretation of Leopold; his reference to Darwin does not refer to the Descent, but rather to the Origin of Species, where Darwin discusses the interdependencies between organisms in the struggle for existence.
Keywords Leopold  Origin of Species  Descent of Man  interdependence  Darwin  stability  land pyramid  community  ecosystem  Land Ethic
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DOI 10.1080/21550085.2015.1111617
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What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.

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Citations of this work BETA

Debunking Myths About Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.Roberta L. Millstein - 2018 - Biological Conservation 217:391–396.
Response to Millstein.Gary Varner - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (1):1-8.

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