WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 4

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Health and Disease as 'Thick' Concepts in Ecosystemic Contexts

James Lindemann Nelson

Environmental Values 4(1995): 311-322. doi: 10.3197/096327195776679420

In this paper, I consider what kind of normative work might be done by speaking of ecosystems utilising a 'medical' vocabulary - drawing, that is, on such notions as 'health', 'disease', and 'illness'. Some writers attracted to this mode of expression have been rather modest about what they think it might purchase. I wish to be bolder. Drawing on the idea of 'thick' evaluative concepts as discussed by McDowell, Williams and Taylor, and resorting to a phenomenological argument for a kind of moral realism, I argue that the project of developing a robust understanding of the moral significance of recognising the health or illness of ecosystems is definitely a starter.


KEYWORDS: Ecosystem health, intrinsic value, 'thick' evaluative concepts



Reprints of this article can be ordered from the British Library Document Supply Service or ingenta

Contact the publishers for subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

THE WHITE HORSE PRESS
The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222