Rolston, Lonergan, and the Intrinsic Value of Nature

Journal of Religious Ethics 27 (1):105 - 128 (1999)
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Abstract

In recent metaethical debate over ways to justify the notion of intrinsic natural value, some neopragmatists have challenged realist conceptions of scientific and moral truth. Holmes Rolston defends a critical-realist epistemology as the basis for a metaphysics of "projective nature" and a cosmological narrative--both of which set up a historical ontology of objective natural value. Pure ecological science informs the wilderness experience of Rolston's ideal epistemic subject, the "sensitive naturalist." The author argues that Rolston's account of the relation between knowing and valuing can be clarified and strengthened by appropriating Bernard Lonergan's transcendental method. Conversely, Lonergan's view of moral self-transcendence can be developed further in light of Rolston's virtue epistemology, which is embodied in the figure of the sensitive naturalist

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