Util and Kant Response to Environmental Ethics

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  • Utilitarianism:
  • Hedonic calculus in separate situations (quantitative, Bentham)
  • Worth noting Mill considered enjoyment and study of nature top of list of higher pleasures so preservation of environment would be important. 
  • Singer - Pref util. Gives example of electric dam over gorge - good as it creates employment and is an energy source but bad as would destroy habitats and a good hiking location etc.
  • considers interest of all sentient creatures 
  • lays particular interest on future generations (their preferences matter too)
  • In general utilitarianism should consider future gens. for example burning fossil fuels might benefit people today but the negative effects of future gens (global warming etc.) would far outweigh todays pleasures.  
  • plants have no intrinsic worth as they are not sentient
  • May be able to argue preserving rainforests etc. so long as it sentient beings' welfare is maximised in some way. 
  • Singer gives hierarchy of values - humans at top, being most sentient…

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