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Environmental Values

Towards a Multidimensional, Environmentalist Ethic

Alan Carter

Environmental Values 20 (2011): 347-374. doi: 10.3197/096327111X13077055166027


There has been a process of moral extensionism within environmental ethics from anthropocentrism, through zoocentrism, to ecocentrism. This article maps key elements of that process, and concludes that each of these ethical positions fails as a fully adequate, environmentalist ethic, and does so because of an implicit assumption that is common within normative theory. This notwithstanding, each position may well contribute a value. The problem that then arises is how to trade off those values against each other when they conflict. The solution here proposed is to employ multidimensional isovalue-contours along with a multidimensional practicability-frontier. This would result in a rich, value-pluralist environmentalist ethic that enjoined different outcomes to those enjoined by purely anthropocentric, zoocentric or ecocentric ethics.


Value pluralism, anthropocentrism, zoocentrism, ecocentrism, Repugnant Conclusion

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Humean Nature Alan Carter

Can We Harm Future People? Alan Carter

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: To Act or Not to Act? Katie McShane
A Defence of Environmental Stewardship. Jennifer Welchman

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