Anna Wienhues
University of Zürich
The concept of natural otherness can be found throughout the environmental ethics literature. Drawing on this concept, this article pursues two aims. For one, it argues for an account of individual natural otherness as stable difference as opposed to accounts of natural otherness that put more emphasis on independence for the purpose of differentiating individual natural otherness from the concept of wildness. Secondly, this account of natural otherness is engaged to argue for a particular way of theorising the moral standing of individual nonhuman entities. While individual natural otherness in itself does not provide an account of whether an entity matters morally in itself (that is, whether it is morally considerable); it points to an account of incommensurable moral significance for all entities which are attributed moral considerability. That is an often-overlooked alternative to egalitarian or hierarchical accounts or moral significance. Individual natural otherness understood in this way in turn provides another explanatory story for why relational accounts of environmental ethics that strongly emphasise the importance of concepts such as wildness are particularly salient.
Keywords natural otherness  moral standing  moral significance  wildness  incommensurability
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.3197/096327121x16328186623913
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