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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)