Bryan G.· Norton, “Environmental Ethics and Weak. Anth ropocentrism,” Environmental Ethics,. Vol. 6, No.2 (Summer ), pp. Anthropocentrism is. In Bryan G. Norton’s article entitled, “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” Norton explains his perspective of how an adequate environmental. A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism. Blog Environmentalists have struggled with a pragmatic.

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He notes that in the stan dard anthropocentric position every instance of value originates in a contribution to hu man values and that all elements in nature can, at most, have value instrumental to the satisfaction of human inter ests[5]. Norton’s position can appeal to those who wish to develop a framework for criticizing destructive human attitudes toward the environment but are reluctant anthropocentrisn place fundamental value on loci outside of human be ings.

Norton admits that adequacy falls short of correctness or truth. Notice the implicit anthropocentrism here as he classifies things as con tributory to an intrinsically valued experience, the good life.

A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

Weak anthropocentrism is a value theory where all value countenanced by it is explained by reference to its bearing upon the ideals which exist as elements in a world view essential to determinations of considered preferences. The weak anthropocentrist can argue for the preservation of certain natural entities because people have ration ally decided from a human standpoint that being the only standpoint possible for them that preservation actions are morally good actions and ones that morally good people ought to do.

Humans encounter and satisfy their felt preferences on a daily basis. Presumably in terms of the earth there will be more than one person managing such a large planet. Nevertheless, even if Norton’s position is expanded in this way, some difficulties still remain.

Norton can argue that many of the attempts to locate value in the world independent of human interests are really subtle forms of his weak anthropocentric position. A Pragmatic Reconsideration of Anthropocentrism.

From Environmental to Ecological Ethics: Human consciousness ought to be perpetuated.

Bryan G. Norton, Environmental ethics and weak anthropocentrism – PhilPapers

This position holds that what we come to know and value about nature is structured by our human perspective. How do these people create an objective value system that builds on global considered preferences, while encouraging humans to uphold obligations to the natural world? A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: They must take human anturopocentrism seriously enough so that they can be set against preference satisfaction as a limit upon them.


Should Extinction Be Forever? I propose that a distinction be made between environmental ethics based on axiologies called “weakly nonanthropocentric” and those based on one “strongly no na nt h ropoce nt r anthropocentriwm. Norton is aware of the need to reject this reduct ion. Email required Address never made public. Hen ryk Skolimowski makes this clear when he wthics that: As Baird Callicott puts it: The traditional anthropocentric environmental ethic is based on the position that all our understanding of the environment and our claims about what are right and wrong ways of behaving toward nature are human referential.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

If we build in too much the ethic is no longer anthropocentric. Weak anthropocentrism provides a basis for criticizing individual, consumptive needs and can provide the basis for adjudicatingbetween these levels, thereby providing an adequate basis for environmental ethics without the questionable ontological commitments made by nonanthropocentrists in attributing intrinsie value to nature.

But there is not universal agreement that such an ethic must necessarily be based on a nonanthropocentric axiology.

By attributing intrinsic value to natural ob jects, Norton notes, two kinds of environmental ethics usually arise, one based on an anthropocentric theory of intrinsic value, and another based on a non-anthropocentric theory. Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism.

The weak anthropocentric position can also explain why an original art object is valued more than a mas terful copy or forgery, since it would locate a value in the object over and above the objects ability to contribute to a valued aesthetic experi envronmental.

Such a theory “takes unque,stioned felt preferences of human individuals as determining value,” [20] and as such provides no check on those in dividuals who regard nature as ethhics vast storehouse of resources to be exploited.

Bryan Norton’s Concept of Weak Anthropocentrism: His weak anthropocentrism requires such considered preferences, but he admits they are hypothet ical idealizations insofar as they refer to a never completed process and are preferences that would be adopted if a rational being has rationally accepted an entire world view. Norton does not deny that it may be possible to develop a nonan thropocentric environmental ethic.

However, Bryan Norton has argued that the “assumption that envi ronmental ethics must be nonanthropocentric in order to be adequate is mistaken. If these internal problems can be overcome, and the position can be made stronger in the ways I mentioned above, then I am ready to agree that weak an thropocentrism is an adequate ethic of the environment.

Thus many hold the project of theoretical environmental ethics is to provide a nonanthropo centric axiology that places loci of intrinsic value in nonhuman entities as well as in humans. He argues that the general rejection of an thropocentrism so prevalent in environmental ethics is not required, and. It can be argued that the differ ence between a strong and weak anthropocentric position is envieonmental the strong position holds that nature only has instrumental value, nlrton the weak position atributes both instrumental and intrinsic value to nat u re.


In critiquing Norton’s proposal I will first present a brief gen eral discussion of axiologies based on the traditional anthropocentric theories of intrinsic value, noting briefly some problems for this theory of value; second, I will develop Norton’s own concept of weak anthro pocentrism as a solution to the problems in the previous ennvironmental and finally, I will critique Norton’s position, showing its strengths and lim its and offer a modification of Norton’s concept that significantly im proves it.

Remember me on this computer. Toward a Practical Ethics for Ecologists anhtropocentrism Conservationists. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. In the former theory only hu mans are the loci of what he calls fundamental value.

The trend weao, he notes, to posit intrinsic value in envigonmental nature and derive an environmental ethic from that positing. Norton, in some aspects, is similar to Aldo Leopold in thinking that wea, is a base preference of science in environmental ethics since he says that science tells us that humans are dependent on land, but he is also unlike Leopold in the aspect that he says only people have a moral standing.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. That is, the current generation has general obligations to use natural resources sustainably and find supplements for those they exhaust, in order to maintain consciousness on earth. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy pdcnet. Accordingly, the manager must distribute the contents of the trust properly to the current generation, maintaining an obligation to the integrity of the trust.

A weakly anthropocentric value theory, on the other norfon, does not focus solely on felt preferences. A weakly anthropocentric position can, however, pro vide constraints on behavior derived from some ideal such as living in harmony wih nature. Click here to sign up. But one can harm something only if it is a good in its own right in the sense of being a locus of fundamental value[G].