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Utilitarianism ethics is the not the best approach to environmental ethics discuss

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Introduction

?Utilitarianism ethics is the not the best approach to environmental ethics? discuss (35) Environmental ethics covers a number of areas, it includes preservation of endangered species, conserving natural habitats, the effects of deforestation and the effects of pollution and is concerned with human attitudes towards and our impact upon the biological world. It considers whether it enhances or diminishes the well-being and diversity of other life on earth. Overall there are three key approaches linked to environmental ethics; deep ecology which is an approach concerned with the intrinsic value of the natural world it sees all life form of value and believes human life is just one part of the biosphere but instead all life has intrinsic value, eco-holism which places the emphasis not on individual human rights but it lends intrinsic value and inherent worth to species or eco-systems or the environment as a whole entity, as it sees it as intrinsically valuable therefore valuable in itself and shallow ecology which is an approach that states the environment is a means to human survival therefore it needs to be conserved in order for humans to flourish, animals are seen as having only instrumental value as their value lies in the usefulness they are to humans. ...read more.

Middle

However although by applying the calculation is a flexible approach, and takes into account individual situations therefore allowing for different circumstances (for example by building a road in Rwanda could mean an increased way of transporting vital medicines therefore although it may lead to pollution in such an underdeveloped country it may be seen an minimal compared to the benefits gained however if a new road was built within the UK in a densely polluted area, the increase in cars which would lead to a significant increase in pollution could have a greater impact than the benefit gain of a reduction in travel time and a more convenient travel route for the minority) problems still arise when applying the principle of the �greatest pleasure for the greatest number�.  Firstly it is hard to predict the damage or benefit that any action will bring, therefore it is impossible to say whether an action will actually produce the desire effect of the greatest good for the greatest number. A question is also raised over whether the good of the majority can really justify ignoring the minority (for example although deforestation may result in more land being provided for agricultural reasons, or more home being provided ...read more.

Conclusion

whilst as Kant would  apply a universal law and therefore state that deforestation should not be allowed because if it was made a universal law of nature that trees were taken down automatically in order to allow for need of home to be met (this a utilitarianism may see this as right as the greatest pleasure is being met for greatest number), we would in the future run out of the vital resources and oxygen that we need. A more contemporary form of utilitarianism is preference, which considers that the moral course of action should not be measure on the amount of pleasure instead you should look towards whether the action is the greatest preference for those involved "the good to be maximized by our actions is not a net gain in pleasure or happiness, but instead a net gain in preferences fulfilled�. For example in order to decide whether a building a hydroelectric dam across a gorge should be allowed they would weigh up the two preferences, for this example they may state that the those who hold the preference that it will provide a cost-effective energy supply would outweigh the preferences of the walkers who would lose a favored beauty spot. ...read more.

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