Summary of Environmental Ethics


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  • Created on: 11-06-14 19:10
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Religious approach to environmental ethics:
Dominion ­ the foundation for a Christian approach to the environment; the view of the natural
world often shows that it is very anthropocentric.
Singer points out that the view shown by both Aristotle influenced by Aquinas that humans are
the only morally important beings and there is no intrinsic value on the Earth.
The story of creation within the bible itself is also up to the interpretation of the reader; if God
values creation and creation in respond can respond to God, then it seems that the Bible does
say that all of creation has some sort of intrinsic value.
Also in the bible it is clearly referred to that god gave humans dominion on the Earth over other
animals and plants etc.
St. Francis of Assisi: God communicates to us through the natural world and is a sin to destroy
the, natural world is inherently good and is a sign of God's goodness therefore we should
respect it.
Singer; the root cause of environmental issues is literal in the sense of dominion; the command to
subdue the Earth needs to be looked at.
When creation account 2 compared to the first; we told man to put in Eden to protect and
preserve it, humans are at the peak of creation and the role of stewardship; we are to care
for and conserve creation as belong to God.
Effect of Man's sin:
The fall seen by the same as reason for environmental problems.
Christians; Environment must be protected and past mistakes must try to be rectified.
Must care for the environment and avoidance of the exploitation of the natural world for
selfish gain will bring about peace, harmony and justice.
Rapture and End-time theology:
Humans have dominion and the genesis creation story teaches us that man is superior to nature
and can use its resources unchecked.
Those who believe in end time theology are not concerned with the end of the Earth and the
natural world is irrelevant because it has no future.
The destruction of the environment is welcoming and should be helped along as it is a sign of the
apocalypse and the second coming of Christ.
Pastor John Hagee; the environment and social crisis of today are potents of rapture, when
born again Christians both living and dead will be taken to heaven and non-believers left behind
will have 7 years of suffering, culminating in the rise of the antichrist.
Secular approaches to environmental ethics:
Libertarian extension; deep ecology

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The phrase "deep ecology" was coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973. Deep
ecology seeks to develop this by focusing on deep experience, deep questioning and deep
These constitute an interconnected system.
Each gives rise to and supports the other, whilst the entire system is, what Næss would call, an
ecosophy: "an evolving but consistent philosophy of being, thinking and acting in the world,
which embodies ecological wisdom and harmony.…read more

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The planet is characterised as a unified, holistic living entity with ethical worth, of which the
human race is of no particular significance in the long run.
Shallow ecology;
The only value that non-human animals and plants have is extrinsic, instrumental to the benefit of
They are a means to an end ­ conservation is important for the welfare of current and future
generations.…read more

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Virtue Ethics;
Aristotle believed in a hierarchy in nature, with humans at the top.
This suggests he would support a conservationist approach to environmental ethics -
looking after the environment because it benefits humans.
Put another way, environmental damage, pollution, global warming etc. has no place in a
eudaimonian state.
Moral virtues are developed by habit.
In the same way, we may develop good habits in the way we treat the environment e.g.…read more


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