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A new environmental ethic calls for the protection of the Earth while recognizing the special nature of humans

For People and the Planet

Holism and Humanism in Environmental Ethics

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Don E. Marietta, Jr., foreword by Holmes Rolston III

The prevailing view of nature has begun to move away from a traditionally Western humans-apart-from-nature attitude toward one that sees humans as a part of nature. Don E. Marietta describes these changes and what he perceives as a philosophical shift toward new holistic models of environmental ethics. He supports a critical holism that stresses the moral importance of the interrelationship of human beings, animals, plants, and non-living things in their common dependence on the ecosphere.

Considering that this humanistic approach to ethics recognizes a shared responsibility to the whole system of nature, Marietta explores the apparent conflict between environmental holism and the interests of individuals, incorporating the perspectives of ecofeminism, anthropocentrism, contextualism, and pluralism.

This approach produces an ecologically enlightened position that calls for a commitment to protecting planet Earth, while recognizing that "even though it may not be easy or simple, we can live according to a humanistic and holistic ethic, one which seeks the good for people and for the planet."

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Excerpt

Read the Foreword, Introduction, and an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Contents

Foreword – Holmes Rolston, III
Introduction
1. Changing Perspectives on Nature
2. Holistic Philosophy and Ethics
3. Holism and Individuals
4. Anthropocentrism in Environmental Ethics
5. Knowledge of the Good and the Bad
6. Deciding What We Should Do
7. The Status of Values in Nature
8. Contextual Environmental Ethics
9. Moral Pluralism
10. Moral Disagreement
11. The Moral Adequacy of Humanistic Holism
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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About the Author(s)

Don E. Marietta, Jr. is Adelaide R. Snyder Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University.

Subject Categories

Nature and the Environment
Philosophy and Ethics


In the series

Environmental Ethics, Values, and Policy, edited by Holmes Rolston III.

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