Environmental Values

By John O'Neill, Alan Holland, Andrew Light

© 2007 – Routledge

246 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415145091
pub: 2007-07-13
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

We live in a world confronted by mounting environmental problems; increasing global deforestation and desertification, loss of species diversity, pollution and global warming. In everyday life people mourn the loss of valued landscapes and urban spaces. Underlying these problems are conflicting priorities and values. Yet dominant approaches to policy-making seem ill-equipped to capture the various ways in which the environment matters to us.

Environmental Values introduces readers to these issues by presenting, and then challenging, two dominant approaches to environmental decision-making, one from environmental economics, the other from environmental philosophy. The authors present a sustained case for questioning the underlying ethical theories of both of these traditions. They defend a pluralistic alternative rooted in the rich everyday relations of humans to the environments they inhabit, providing a path for integrating human needs with environmental protection through an understanding of the narrative and history of particular places. The book examines the implications of this approach for policy issues such as biodiversity conservation and sustainability.

Written in a clear and accessible style for an interdisciplinary audience, this volume will be ideal for student use in environmental courses in geography, economics, philosophy, politics and sociology.

Reviews

"Environmental Values is an excellent book, easy to read, and relatively short." -- Richard Haynes, Ecological Restoration, Vol. 26, No. 1

Environmental Values covers an extraordinary amount of ground with clarity and precision. It distils key ideas from leading thinkers in environmental philosophy into one tightly argued volume. It offers both careful, accurate summaries of existing positions and an original, stuimulating position of its own. I highly recommend it. Clare Palmer, Geographical Journal

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Values and the Environment 1. Environments and values 1.1. Living from the world 1.2. Living in the world 1.3 Living with the world 2. Addressing Value Conflicts 2.1 Value conflicts 2.2 The distribution of goods and harms 2.3 Addressing conflicts

Part One: Utilitarian approaches to environmental decision making Chapter 2: Human well-being and the natural world 1. Introduction 2. Welfare: Hedonism, preferences and objective lists 2.1 The Hedonistic account of well-being 2.2 Preference utilitarianism 2.3 Objectivist accounts of welfare 3. Whose well-being counts? 4. Making comparisons: utilitarianism, economics and efficiency Chapter 3: Consequentialism and its critics 1. Introduction 2. Consequentialism permits too much 2.1 What is the problem with consequentialism? The moral standing of individuals 2.2 Rights, conflicts and community 3. Consequentialism demands too much 3.1 What is the problem with consequentialism? Agent-based restrictions on action 3.2 Virtues and environmental concern 4. Consequentialist responses 4.1. Indirect utilitarianism 4.2 Extending the account of the good 5. Ethical pluralism and the limits of theory Chapter 4 Equality, justice and environment 1. Utilitarianism and distribution 1.1. Equality in moral standing 1.2. Indirect utilitarian arguments for distributive equality 1.3 Economics, efficiency and equality 1.3.1 Willingness to pay 1.3.2 The Kaldor-Hicks compensation test 1.3.3. Discounting the future 2. Egalitarian ethics 2.1. Consequentialism without maximisation 2.1.1. The priority view 2.1.2. Telic egalitarianism 2.2. Deontological responses 2.3. Community, character and equality 3. Equality of what? Chapter 5 Value Pluralism, value commensurability and environmental choice 1. Value monism 2. Value pluralism 2.1 Trading-off values 2.2 Constitutive incommensurabilities 3. Value-pluralism, consequentialism, and the alternatives 4. Structural pluralism 5. Choice without commensurability 6. What can we expect from a theory of rational choice?

Part Two: A New Environmental Ethic? Chapter 6: The moral considerability of the non-human world 1. New ethics for old? 2. Moral considerability 3. Extending the boundaries of moral considerability 4. New theories for old? Chapter 7 Environment, meta-ethics and intrinsic value 1. Meta-ethics and normative ethics 2. Intrinsic value 3. Is the rejection of meta-ethical realism compatible with an environmental ethic? 4. Objective value and the flourishing of living things 5. Environmental ethics through thick and thin Chapter 8. Nature and the natural 1. Valuing the ‘natural’ 2. The complexity of ‘nature’ 2.1 Some distinctions 2.2 Natural and artificial 2.3 Natural and cultural 2.4 Nature as wilderness 3. The value of natural things 4. Nature Conservation 4.1 A paradox? 5. On restoring the value of nature 6. Restitutive ecology 7. History, narrative and environmental goods

Part 3: The narratives of nature Chapter 9. Nature and narrative 1. Three walks 2. History and processes as sources of value 3. Going back to nature? 4. Old worlds and new 5. Narrative and nature Chapter 10. Biodiversity: biology as biography 1. The itemising approach to environmental values 1.1 The nature of biodiversity - conceptual clarifications 1.2 The attractions of itemisation 2. Biodiversity and environmental sustainability 3. Time, history and biodiversity 4. Environmental ethics and the dangers of moral trumps Chapter 11. Sustainability and human well-being 1. Sustainability: of what, for whom and why? 2. Economic accounts of sustainability 3. Sustainability: weak and strong 4. Human well-being and substitutability 5. From preferences to needs 6. Narrative, human-well being and sustainability 7. Sustainability without capital Chapter 12. Public decisions and environmental goods 1. Procedural rationality and deliberative institutions 2. Decisions in context 3. Responsibility and character 4. What makes for good decisions?

About the Authors

John O'Neill is Professor of Political Economy at The University of Manchester.

Alan Holland is Emeritus Professor of Applied Philosophy at Lancaster University

Andrew Light is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle.

About the Series

Routledge Introductions to Environment: Environment and Society Texts

This series introduces core topics for environmental study and presents unparalleled interdisciplinary perspectives on issues of environmental concern. Focusing on human-environmental interrelationships, these concise, engaging, user-friendly texts respond particularly well to the demands of modular learning. Each text in the series features:

  • summaries of key concepts and contextual introductions to each topic
  • uniform, attractive, series design
  • informative diagrams illustrating key concepts and issues
  • annotated reading lists and end of chapter questions
  • lively global case-studies boxed throughout the text.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARC010000
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
SCI026000
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCI030000
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SCI031000
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geology
SOC015000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography