A Gaitan account of environmental ethics

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An environmental ethics mirroring the distinctive account given by Raimond Gaita of human ethics offers a number of advantages. By understanding the moral significance of individuals to be related primarily to whether they are intelligible objects of love, a Gaitan environmental ethics clarifies the conceptual connections between experiences familiar to those who affirm environmental value: perception of intrinsic value in nature, love of particular natural things or places, an expanded sense of depth of meaning in life, and the sense that environmental commitment is partially constitutive of identity. It highlights the importance of an attitudinal shift in promoting broader acceptance of environmental ethics, and the need for nature preservation, environmental culture, and environmentally committed people who live with integrity to facilitate such an attitudinal shift. Finally, by explaining (via the critical concept of anthropocentrism) the depth of meaning in life that affirmation of environmental value makes possible, it might play a small role in reducing barriers to such affirmation. A Gaitan approach clarifies the conceptual connections between experiences familiar to many who affirm environmental value, highlights the importance of nature preservation, of environmental culture, and of environmentally committed people, and can provide the advantage of a deeper meaning in life over the current norm of seeing nature instrumentally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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