Business and Enviromental Ethics

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Intro and Christian views

An integral part of this topic is looking at humanitys responsibility towards the enviroment. Christians believe that God created the universe out of an abundance of his love. Creation stories say God created the world out of his limitless love. Apart of this act is the creation of human beings to represent the pinnacle of God's love as we are created in the image of God.

We have a special case in creation as man goes on to name all the creatures of the Earth. = Giving a name= power= God has given humanity CONTROL over the arth and creatures, we are GIVEN DOMINION over the nature in Genesis 1:26. = Function because we are unique.

Dominion= Responsibility and duty of care towards the enviroment. Houghton- God made the world so the planet needs to be treated with respect and dedication. Stewardship- God has put human beings in charge of the Earth, and we have an obligation to look after it properly. E.g. Adam-look after Garden of Eden.

Some believe in ESCHATON- end of days when the world will come to an end and these C's welcome the destruction of the Earth as it will be closer to Judgement day. Some Christians have become more enviromentally concerned-link enviromental issues to G'd justice.  

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Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Believe God created the world out of love and humans have a duty of care- so this means ecological issues are treated seriously.
  • Also link poverty with social justice

Weaknesses- Anthropocentric as humans are at the centre and are responsible for what happens to the enviroment- so some may see human beings as superior than being apart of creation. The domnion given to Adam is seen as the cause of destruction to the planet.

Lovelock- Chrisitans see the world not only as anthropocentric but also in a theocentric view. They believe God is ultimately in control and all will be well and the end- limiting human responsibility.

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Natural Law Theory

Lossky- Human beings are part of creation and are like the heart of the body, it is really important but cant function without the lungs and if the other organs are not working. It's up to humans to correct this- this is an ecocentric approach.

New natural law theorists have tried to go beyond Ar&Aq- Murphy put foward a practical method of using REASON to calculate what ought to be done morally in a situation- adapted Finnis' list of BASIC GOODS needed to make EUDAIMONIA- human well being. These are life, knowledge, inner peace etc- this can be applied rationality to create what Murphy calls PRACTICAL RATIONALISIT.

NL- would also say the primary precepts of pro creation, education, peaceful living, worship, preservation, knowledge, would have to apply. Preservation of the enviroment, follow God's eternal law and let natural law take place. Develop of Aristotle's concept of a function, purpose and end and use Aquinas argument of REASON to implement secondary precepts.

Cardinal virtue- undersanding.


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Deep ecology, Gaia and Shallow ecology

Deep- Naess was awed by the beauty of mountains and believed supernatural claims about God and religion are uneccesary and you should appreciate the spiritual natural world around you. He was influneced by Ghandi and the vedic understanding of the human soul (atman) as part of an eternal soul that involves all creation. Everything- trees etc should be respected as humans are only one part of this integrated and mutually dependant ecological structure. Ecosophy- idea true knowledge lies in the harmony of creation. His views is ecocentric- putting nature at the heart.

Human beings are still an integral part of creation, and believes that all life has intrinsic value, the diversity of life adds to the Earth's welfare, no single life form has a right to destroy the earths diversity, cause of destruction is humans, change is needed to preveny further damange, change needs peaceful campaigns and progrects to alter anything that undermines BIODIVERSITY.

Criticsms- best methods to reduce population etc. Ecofascism.

Gaia- Lovelock- individual things are apart of a bigger entity and exists in all things. Way of looking at the world, origins in Timeaus- Plato- world is made of 4 elements- they cancel eachother out- never too hot or cold- anthropomorphic view- e.g. Galieleo- plants pulsated.

Shallow- anthropocentric view which believes we should protect the enviroment to benifit us.

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Virtue Ethics and the enviroment

Anthropocentric view highlighting the moral character of the individual. A lot of contemporary ecology rejects VE because of this. Aristotle's VE- golden mean- arete- eudamonia= too human approached. Society. Modern VE- look at the character of the moral agent and less at the end result of the persons so green morality is about the action than the moral character.

They believe in looking at character traits of the individual,others believe looking at the telos of what happens as they believe the telos of enviromentalism should be sustainiability.

Van Wensvenn- eco system should by sustained by human control- good character traits and bad ones connected with enviromentalism- good is include things like care, loving life, respect for creatures than destructive self indulgence, all of these bring respect for the enviroment. They have to be tested or else the whole green lobby will be morally counterfiet, e.g native american- rez example- harmful virtue. The list- repression test- will people be represeed by enviromental reform> Alientation> will enviromental change cuase alientation of people?> Guilt- is any change being done on guilt for past mistakes?> Fetishism test- is any enviromental change being made becuase it is the fashion of the moment?

Cafaro- we should be simple as humans extol complexity.

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Strengths and Weaknesses of Virtue Ethics


  • Humans should see sustainability as a fundamental goal to which they should aim
  • Rejects human arrogance and greed


  • Too individualist

Kantian Ethics:

1. Nature works rationally- nature is enlightened and can only be understood through reason  2. Nature liberates human beings- logical and purposeful as the purpose is revealing of autonomy, freedom etc. This is a strength of Kants ideas about enviroment- sees inter relationships between humans and creation. 3. Cruelty to animals should be irrational and avoided- with eating them, comes responsibility to treat them nicely. 4. Nature should not be exploited- humans have a duty to themselves to survive so exploiting them is immoral. 5. Nature must not be treated as a means to an end but only as a ends in itself. 6. Nature is intrinsically beutiful- moral goodness.

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Bentham- naturalism is crucial, nature prefers pleasure. Sentient centred- maximisation of pleasure. Hedonic calculus. They can suffer. Quantative utilitarianism- greatest good for greatest number.

Mill- Anthropocentric and maximisation of pleasure should only be concerned with human beings. Qualative utilitarianism.

Preference utilitarianism- right action is one that maxmises the preference that individual human beings make. Consider the overall happiness or overall suffering of all sentient creatures.

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Business ethics

Globalism- concerned with the way in which particular political, moral and economic values becomes the norm for different socities around the world. It is about an attitude in which the needs of the world go beyond nations. Globalisation- practical methods by which global values are transferred into different countries.

With economic growth, enviromental damage is a natural consequence of the growth of business and industry. Human industries need industrial growth but this can bring devastating ecological harm. Natural habitats are destroyed as factories are built, growth leadsto energy demands to the building and to the building of more and more power stations. Pollution is rife.

The Kuznets Curve- by Grossman and Krueger to show that as people get richer, they buy and use things that are better for the enviroment. They also gain habits about recyling and tourism which deliver reduced damage

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