No experience necessary? Foundationalism and the retreat from culture in environmental ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

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 philosphical 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-348
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Values
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Philosophy

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