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Goodwill Toward Nature

Christopher Freiman

Environmental Values 18 (2009): 343-359. DOI: 10.3197/096327109X12474739376532

ABSTRACT

It is sometimes claimed that an ethical relationship with nature is analogous to Aristotelian friendship. Aristotle claims that friends are valuable principally in virtue of providing reflections of ourselves; yet extant accounts of environmental friendship do not explain how nonhuman organisms can satisfy this role. Recent work in neo-Aristotelian metaethics delineates a theory of value that underscores the similarities between the biological evaluations we make of living things and the moral evaluations we make of ourselves. I argue that these similarities help us make sense of the claim that nonhuman organisms can be reflections of ourselves and thus the object of a relationship akin to friendship. I conclude by suggesting that Aristotle's conception of goodwill may be even more appropriate than friendship as a model for a virtuous relationship with nature.

KEYWORDS

Environmental virtue ethics, friendship, Aristotle, natural goodness

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Happiness and the Good LifeJohn O'Neill

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Conservation of Adaptive Self-Construction: A Flux-Centred Solution to the Paradox of Nature Preservation. Matthew F. Child

Relativism, Ambiguity and the Environmental Virtues. Dominic Lenzi


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