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Environmental Philosophy. Roderick Nashs book titled The Rights of Nature and Ernest Partridges book titled Responsibilities of Future Generations present a historical perspective of the evolution of environmental ethics from American phi

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Introduction

Roderick Nash's book titled The Rights of Nature and Ernest Partridge's book titled Responsibilities of Future Generations present a historical perspective of the evolution of environmental ethics from American philosophers. The historical perspective is important because it illustrates not only the importance of caring for the natural environment but also how ethics is manifested in the realm of environmental science. In addition, it also implies actions to be presently done and to prevent future environmental conflicts. The historical perspective is not only crucial but also necessary for my methodology of my thesis on the relationship between public indifference and environmental ethics. In order to understand how the historical perspective is applicable to my research project, this paper will first define environmental ethics. Second it will present a synopsis and analysis of Nash's book. Third, it will analyze Partridge's book and show how it is relatable to Nash's book. Finally, it will conclude with an application of both Nash's and Partridge's book into my research project. Definition of Environmental Ethics Environmental ethics is defined in The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy as "the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings, the values and moral status of the environment and its non-human contexts."1 Unlike normative ethical theories such as consequentialism and deontology, environmental ethics attempts to be distanced from human-oriented ethical views. Yet, the foundation of environmental ethics is also founded on two fundamental moral questions which also occur in many normative ethical theories. These questions are: "What kinds of things are considered intrinsically valuable and what makes an action right or wrong?"2 Environmental ethics is a naturalistic ethic, which is "when humans ask about appropriate respect toward those who are other than human."3 In environmental ethics, the natural environmental and its contained contents are considered intrinsically valuable. When this way of thinking occurs, the concern for the natural environment becomes the central focus of what actions are determined to be ethical or unethical. ...read more.

Middle

However, both have a difference of views. Jonas' paper argues that "the source of this new responsibility of this generation to the future is unprecedented. The source of this new responsibility is the foresight and the power that have come with our scientific knowledge and with our technology. Therefore, a reconstruction of moral philosophy is needed."15 On the other hand, Thomas Derr's paper argues that "the case for such a duty may be significantly enhanced by viewing the human condition from the transcendent perspective which the religious imagination affords."16 The second section contains papers whose purpose was to pose moral questions concerning the duty to the future generation. The fundamental moral questions regarding the duty to the future generation are the following: who is the future generation and what is the current moral reasoning? The future generation refers to a population of human beings whose existence depends on current reproductive decisions. When it comes to deciding whether or not they should be included in moral decision-making, there are implications that need to be considered. These implications are that "persons who will never come into being cannot conceivably occasion social conflict, so merely possible persons need not enter into our moral thinking at all."17 Furthermore, this means that "there is no such thing as a right to come into being or a right to be born."18 The third and fourth section consists of five papers that discuss the disputed topic of whether or not future generations can be said to have rights. A right means to have "a claim to something and against someone, the recognition of which is called for by legal rules or, in the case of moral rights, by principles of an enlightened conscience."19 The three authors who argue that future generations do have rights are Joel Feinberg, Galen Pletcher and Annette Baier. The two authors with the opposing views are Richard T. ...read more.

Conclusion

This article not only is directly related to my research project but it also adds to my argument against public indifference. This is demonstrated when the Routleys argue that the continued use of nuclear energy is a "crime against the future is inevitable...on the basis of its effects on the future alone, the nuclear option is morally unacceptable."27 When applied to the definition of public indifference, one can see that the Routley article gives an underlying reason to explain how public indifference to the negative effects of environmental harm caused by nuclear waste water pollution is not only immoral but a crime. Public indifference to nuclear waste water pollution is a crime because it causes people to not only to become indirect killers of current human beings. They also cause people to become indirect killers of future generations, which can constitute potential unintended manslaughter. At the same time the Routley article also promotes the notion of civic duty, a concept that is also discussed in my research project. This is demonstrated when Routley said "on the basis of its effects on the future alone, the nuclear option is morally unacceptable."28 Here, Routley exemplifies that if public indifference is perpetuated, it is morally unacceptable. In order to be moral in the case of environmental harm caused by nuclear waste water pollution, people must invest in the idea of civic duty. Civic duty is a concept where everyone is responsible for one another. When people begin to take action against public indifference, it will benefit future generations by people finding resolutions to nuclear waste water pollution. Conclusion Both Nash and Partridge's works will be useful in my research project by adding insight and another perspective. Nash's work offers a philosophical historical analysis similar to my historical case study analysis by providing a view of environmental ethics that corresponds to my case studies. Partridge's work offers a new perspective on how to define public indifference and gives an underlying reason to explain the moral impermissibility of public indifference and promotes the idea of civic duty. ...read more.

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