On the Reconciliation of Anthropocentric and Nonanthropocentric Environmental Ethics

Environmental Values 5 (4):349-361 (1996)
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Abstract

I argue that James Sterba's recent attempt to show that, despite their foundational axiological differences regarding the relative value of humans and members of nonhuman species, anthropocentrists and nonanthropocentrists would accept the exact same principles of environmental justice fails. The failure to reconcile the two positions is a product of an underestimation of the divergence that occurs at the level of general principles and practical policy as a result of the initial value commitments which characterise each position. The upshot of this is that, contrary to those who argue that environmental ethicists ought to move beyond the traditional anthropocentric -nonanthropocentric debate, the foundational debate about interspecific egalitarianism will continue to issue in substantial debates about environmental policy formation.

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