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No Experience Necessary? Foundationalism and the Retreat from Culture in Environmental Ethics

No Experience Necessary? Foundationalism and the Retreat from Culture in Environmental Ethics Many of the leading contributors to the field of environmental ethics demonstrate a preference for foundationalist approaches in their theoretical justifications of environmentalism. In this paper, I criticise this tendency as it figures in the work of Holmes Rolston III, J. Baird Callicott, and Eric Katz. I illustrate how these writers’ desire for philosophical absolutes leads them to reject the moral resources present within human culture; a move that carries with it a number of troubling philosophical and political problems. I conclude that environmental theorists would be better served by taking a more contextual, social, and pragmatic approach to justifying their moral projects regarding nature, and that this mode of inquiry will ultimately lead toward a more philosophically sound and democratically authentic environmental ethics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmental Values SAGE

No Experience Necessary? Foundationalism and the Retreat from Culture in Environmental Ethics

Environmental Values , Volume 7 (3): 16 – Aug 1, 1998

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References (27)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1998 White Horse Press
ISSN
0963-2719
eISSN
1752-7015
DOI
10.1177/096327199800700306
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many of the leading contributors to the field of environmental ethics demonstrate a preference for foundationalist approaches in their theoretical justifications of environmentalism. In this paper, I criticise this tendency as it figures in the work of Holmes Rolston III, J. Baird Callicott, and Eric Katz. I illustrate how these writers’ desire for philosophical absolutes leads them to reject the moral resources present within human culture; a move that carries with it a number of troubling philosophical and political problems. I conclude that environmental theorists would be better served by taking a more contextual, social, and pragmatic approach to justifying their moral projects regarding nature, and that this mode of inquiry will ultimately lead toward a more philosophically sound and democratically authentic environmental ethics.

Journal

Environmental ValuesSAGE

Published: Aug 1, 1998

Keywords: environmental ethics; foundationalism; pragmatism; contextualism

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