Towards an Adequate Environmental Virtue Ethic

Environmental Values 13 (4):477 - 495 (2004)
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In this article I consider four concerns regarding the possibility of an environmental virtue ethic functioning as an alternative – rather than a supplement – to more conventional approaches to environmental ethics. The concerns are: (1) it is not possible to provide an objective specification of environmental virtue, (2) an environmental virtue ethic will lack the resources to provide critique of obtaining cultural practices and policies, (3) an environmental virtue ethic will not provide sufficient action-guidance, (4) an environmental virtue ethic cannot ground constraints on human activities regarding the natural environment. Each of these concerns makes a claim about the poverty of normative resources at the disposal of environmental virtue ethics. I defend a conception of environmental virtue – as a character virtue with the same normative standing as the conventional personal and interpersonal virtues – that enables an environmental virtue ethic with the wherewithal to address each of the concerns



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Ronald Sandler
Northeastern University

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