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An overview of Environmental Ethics

  1. Resources
  2. Guide Questions
  3. Smartboard Notes

Here are some web sites that will enhance your understanding of this week's reading:

Environmental Resources:

This Week's Authors:

Anthony Weston

Ben Minteer & Robert Manning:

Real TED Videos (



Guide Questions:

The following questions are designed to fine tune your understanding of the reading. The subject matter and answers to these questions form the basis of what you will be required to know for exams.

Objectives for this week: These are the learning objectives you should have mastered after attending the lectures and completing the questions below

  1. explain the role of pragmatism and its contextualization in the field of environmental ethics
  2. contrast the foundationalist/intrinsic values approach versus a pragmatic/pluralist approach to environmental ethics
  3. differentiate between strong and weak anthropocentrism
  4. explain how John Dewey's approach to pragmatism can be applied to environmental ethics
  5. explain how pragmatism and pluralism can open up lines of dialogue in a democratic approach to environmental ethics
  6. explain how pluralism and pragmatism can contribute to the creation of environmentally sustainable policies

Beyond Intrinsic Value: Pragmatism in Environmental Ethics (Weston)

Guide Questions:

  1. Describe how pragmatism is contextualized in Weston's essay on environmental ethics.
  2. From pages 308-310 in Weston's critique summarize two problems with intrinsic values as a philosophical standpoint for environmental ethics.
  3. Describe the difference between weak versus strong anthropocentrism.
  4. Weston uses John Dewey to ground his pragmatic approach to environmental ethics. How, using this approach, is value justified?
  5. What is Weston's final position on intrinsic value with regards to using it as a foundation for environmental ethics?
  6. Describe his proposed alternative to the intrinsic approach.

Pragmatism in Environmental Ethics: Democracy, Pluralism, and the Management of Nature (Minteer & Manning)

  1. From the introduction to the essay, describe the pragmatist's approach to environmental ethics.
  2. Explain John Dewey's position on the value of human experience in justifying ethical views.
  3. How are public opinions and beliefs taken into account using the pragmatic approach?
  4. How does a pluralistic reading of environmental values differ from other approaches?
  5. In what ways can a practical and pluralistic approach to environmental philosophy provide a useful framework for creating environmental policy?

Smartboard Notes

Smartboard Notes from Week 7 Lecture:







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