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The cost of denying intrinsic value in nature
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6310-151x
2022 (English)In: Environmental Ethics, ISSN 0163-4275, E-ISSN 2153-7895, Vol. 44, no 3, p. 267-288Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many people who claim to genuinely care about nature still seem reluctant to ascribe intrinsic value to it. Environmentalists, nature friendly people in general, and even environmental activists, often hesitate at the idea that nature possesses value in its own right - value that is not reducible to its importance to human or other sentient beings. One crucial explanation of this reluctance is probably the thought that such value - at least when attached to nature - would be mysterious in one way or another, or at least very difficult to account for. In addition, Bryan Norton’s influential convergence hypothesis states that, from a practical point of view, it makes no or little difference whether we ascribe intrinsic value to nature, given the depth and variety of instrumental value it possesses. In this paper, I argue that people who genuinely care about nature cannot avoid ascribing intrinsic value (in a certain sense) to it, if they want to be able to consistently defend the kind of claims about protecting nature they arguably want to make, i.e., claims to the effect that we ought to protect for instance nature areas and species. The cost of denying intrinsic value in nature is the cost of giving up a crucial resource to philosophically defend such claims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Philosophy Documentation Center , 2022. Vol. 44, no 3, p. 267-288
Keywords [en]
environmental ethics, intrinsic value in nature, non-instrumental value in nature, non-anthropocentrism, convergence hypothesis, anthropocentrism, intrinsic value, non-instrumental value, intrinsic value in the reason-implying sense
National Category
Philosophy Ethics
Research subject
Ethics; Practical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-200576DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics202292644ISI: 000917329800005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85144341074OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-200576DiVA, id: diva2:1705842
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-01535Available from: 2022-10-24 Created: 2022-10-24 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Samuelsson, Lars

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