Ecological crisis, procreation, and human choice

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Ecological crisis, procreation, and human choice
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Philosophy thesis Ph.D
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1994.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 298-310).
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by Ronnie Zoe Hawkins.
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ECOLOGICAL CRISIS, PROCREATION, AND HUMAN CHOICE













By

RONNIE ZOE HAWKINS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT













ACKNOWLEDGMENT


would like to express my deepest gratitude to my dissertation


upervisor


Ofelia


Schutte, without whose


support


would never have completed this


dissertation


and to Professor Richard Hare


, whose guidance


n the field of ethics


has been


valuable.


would also like to thank the other members of my


dissertation committee


their most helpfu


Robert Baum


suggestions and


, John Eisenberg,


encouragement.


and Jay Zeman,


must also express my


abundant thanks to M.


Schaer. whose assistance with the


ntricacies of word


processing was absolutely essential to the


completion of this project.


Additionally,


would


ike to express my appreciation to the Department of


Philosophy for its continued financial


support


n the form of teaching and


research assistantships and to the Graduate School for


nitiating my philosophy


career by awarding me a Graduate Counci


Fellow


hip and for helping my


dissertation near its completion by providing me with a Humanities Fellowship.


Finally,


must offer my great thanks to fam


y and friends who allowed and


encouraged me to be true to my own goa


n life.


My mother


Okia Bradley


Johnson


, and my father


Lowell Hawkin


, were always there for me with


support


and love


only wish


could have crossed this threshold at an earlier time in


- -- S S S *








ensen for setting me a tireless example


n fighting the good fight, and to


someone who was not present and cannot be named but who nevertheless led

me to discover a certain measure of strength and courage within myself that

otherwise might never have come to be.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


ABSTRACT


CHAPTERS


SETTING THE STAGE:


TWO DIFFERENT ETHICAL


APPROACHES TO ENVIRONMENTAL


ISSUES


EVOLUTIONARY CONTINUITY


: THE BAS


FOR REJECTION


OF ANTHROPOCENTRI


A Snapshot of Life on the Planet
The Third Great Extinction Crisis


. . *
* * *


Evolutionary Biology:
A Search for "Gaps" i


Some


Theoretica


n the Empirica


On the Far End of Severa
No "Ought" from an "Is":


Spectra


Points


World


4 4 4 4 . 4


Humans Make Cho


ices


AN EXAMINATION OF CONTEMPORARY
CENTERED THEORIES .. ........


NDIVIDUAL-


Peter


Singer's


Tom Regan's
Paul Taylor's


Robin Attfield's


Discu


Animal Liberation


Case for Anima


. 4 . . 5 5


Rights


Respect for Nature


of Environmental


ssion and Criticism


Concern


POPULATION IS


SUES:


NUMBERS


AND UTILITY FOR HUMANS


AND NONHUMAN


Utilitarian Problem


What Makes the


of Number


"Repugnant Conclu


A Primer on Exponential Growth


on" Repugnant?


2 % A -- A%, .i -I


. 116


J








A FRAMEWORK FOR CONSIDERING NONHUMAN INTEREST


A Common Core of Ethica


Thought ......


The Limits of Moral Considerability


Con


idering the


interests of Nonhuman


A Closer Look at Niches, Kind


A Possibly Usefu


. . 238


interest


Metaphor


THINKING ETHICALLY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK


Some Obstacles to Considering Nonhumans Equally:
Dualism and Hierarchy .....................


Considering the Kind--Including the Human Kind


The Environmentally Repugnant Conclu


The Objection

REFERENCES ..


ions Recon


of the Ecocentrists Reconsidered


idered


. . 290


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


.............. 267


. . . .. 283













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate


of the University of Florida


School


n Partial Fulfillment of the


Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


ECOLOGICAL CRIS


PROCREATION


AND HUMAN CHOICE


Ronnie Zoe Hawkins


August,


Chairperson: Ofe
Major department:


1994


a Schutte
Philosophy


Ecosystem


and their component organism


are being destroyed at an


unprecedented rate today by the space and resource demands of an


exponentially growing human population.


addressing environmental problem


lines.


Ethical theories


have genera


developed for


y followed one of two different


ndividual-centered theories that expand moral consideration to


include


some nonhumans draw support from traditional ethica


thinking but encounter


difficulties with defining the limits of mora


considerability


with countenancing


such natural processes

extinction of species. E


as predation,


and with according relevance to the


:cocentric theories accommodate species


interaction


how a relative


ack of historical grounding and are often unclear about the moral


statu


accorded human and nonhuman


individuals


, facing charges of








accorded special privileges within the


ecosystem,


leading them to collapse


merely enlightened version


of anthropocentrism,


and of effectiveness


since as


yet they have demonstrated


ttle of substance


n addressing population


problem


Anthropocentrism is rejected


ncongruent with our


empirica


picture


of the


world


, which shows evolutionary continuity


rather than sharp gaps,


existing among


ving organism


and hence


individual-centered approaches that


accord nonhumans continuity of consideration appear preferable.


approaches,


Of these


the utilitarian theories of Singer and Attfield have the advantage of


an ongoing dialogue concerning population,


but at least one utilitarian view


appears to encourage additional human population growth.


argue that it may


be possible to develop an


individual


-centered ethic


according equal respect for


the equal


interests of a


living beings that,


n the process of concretizing the


content of the


interests of those beings,


reflects the coarse-grained,


interconnected kinds within the ecosystem and thereby discovers limits on the


numbers of th


beings there


should be.


We find we human


have


choices to


make with respect to accommodating those


interests as we discover our own


coarse-grained niche within th


ecosystem,


and a very important choice


is the


extent to which we ourselves should procreate.














CHAPTER 1


SETTING THE STAGE:


TWO DIFFERENT ETHICAL


APPROACHES


TO ENVIRONMENTAL


UES


Ecosystems and their component organism


are being destroyed at an


unprecedented rate today as a result of expanding human activities.


A growing


concern over this state of affairs has been responsible for the emerging effort

within philosophic circles to generate an adequate environmental ethic, one


capable of framing an appropriate response


genera


to the situation


approaches have been taken to date: one


thinking that centers on human


individuals of various


individuals "outward" to


Two different


"extends" traditional ethical


include nonhuman


sorts within the sphere of moral concern,


while the other


emphasizes a holistic focu


on the ecosystem itself over and above its individual


components.


n evaluating the different approaches that have been taken,


one


concern of mine wi


be the extent to which the ethical accounts lend themselves


to congruency with our overall empirical understanding of the world and,


particular, the place of human beings


n relation to other lifeform


The primary


reason why a need for an environmental


ethic exists


however


is that human


beings are exerting an


ncreasmng


impact on their environment, an effect that can


n large part be related to rapidly


increasing human numbers,


and therefore an








n this chapter


we will consider very briefly some of the different


the individual-centered and the ecosystem-ce


entered approaches


between


n order to


frame the major points of debate.


Perhaps the best known schemes to extend


moral consideration beyond the boundaries of the human species


along


individualistic lines

and Tom Regan, w


have


been those of Peter Singer


ho has developed a


"rights view.


ng a utilitarian ethic,


Singer draws on the


tradition of Jeremy Bentham in emphasizing the capacity of many nonhuman


animals to experience pleasure and pain,


and he thu


identifies


the possession of


sentience as the relevant characteristic qualifying an individual organism for

moral consideration; since different animals apparently exhibit different degrees


of sentience


, Singer accepts a kind of graded hierarchy that permits a weighing


of the


interests of different kinds of animals


, with harms to some permissible if


outweighed by the greater good of others.


Regan,


on the other hand,


recognizes the


"equal right"


of every "experiencing subject of a life" to be


with respect" rather than simply as a mean


to an


end; he notes that


"where we


draw the line" between rights-holders and those that are not may be


," but rights clearly extend to all mature mammals,


have rights have them absolutely


and those that


infringements are not to be countenanced for


presumed benefits to others.


"treated


"controversial








Much of the attention of both Singer and Regan has been focused on the


treatment of domestic anima

and animal experimentation.


, primarily within the domain


of factory farming


Two other philosophers who utilize an


ndividual-


centered paradigm,


Robin Attfield and Pau


Taylor


have focused their attention


on environmental issues


and their views will be examined i


n detail in chapter


However


theories of Singer and Regan have been given more attention by


the ecocentrists


n defining their own differing point of view, and th


brief


introduction to Singer'


and Regan'


position


should suffice to illuminate the


contrasts.


With respect to environmental


issues


nger fa


to find


ntelligible


answers to question

animals or plants, sj


about the morally significant


)ecies, and ecosystems,


interests of nonsentient


and the only reasons he can


accept for according greater concern to members of endangered species than

to comparable nonendangered creatures have to do with the indirect benefits


that sentient beings might reap from their preservation.4


Regan,


kewise,


sees


membership in an


endangered specie


as conferring no additional mora


weight upon an animal beyond what it may have


already as an


individual


bearer of rights,


and he rejects the


ubordination of


individuals to


"the greater


biotic good,


implication he finds


n the Leopoldian


and ethic or ecosystem-


Peter


nger


Practice


2d ed.


(Cambridge: Cambridge University


Press


,1993),


276-84.








centered approach,


as a view deserving of the term


"'environmental fascism."'


At the same time


however


, Regan


"does not deny the possibility"


that species


ecosystems


"might have inherent value" not reducible to that associated with


individuals


, and he also considers the possibility of a


ethic" that would recognize such value


such as particular trees.


"rights-based environmental


"individual inanimate natural


Though he notes that such an ethic


objects,"


"far from being


established," he asks,


Were we to show proper respect for the rights of the


individual


who make


up the biotic community


would not the


community be preserved?8


is a question to which we will return,


Baird Callicott u


n general form,


this rhetorical question of Regan'


n a later chapter


as quoted and


criticized by Mark Sagoff,


as a focal point for attack on the problems


encountered by extensionist approaches to an environmental ethic.


traditional ethical framework developed for dealings among human


he has claimed


Extending a


ndividua


, cannot suffice for application to the environment, and the debate


"polar," between those who value only humans and those who are also


concerned with sentient nonhuman animals


, but rather "triangular


," including


also


, separately,


those who place the locus of value at the level of the entire


biotic community as a whole,


"ethical holists"


or "ecocentrists," for whom he is


6lbid


Ibid.


i








a prominent spokesperson.10


whose primary focu


Callicott is


has been on the moral


joined by others, notably Bryan Norton,


justification for the protection of


endangered species,


n criticizing such extensionist approaches for their


apparent flouting of the way ecological system


function.


A "rights" approach


to protecting the ecosystem


uch as Regan proposes above,


for example,


would


leave no room for predation,


if, as Callicott observes


individual whitetailed


deer has a


"right"


ive unmolested,"'12 yet predation is a necessary part of the


ecosystem and a process essential for the


survival (and thus perhaps the


"right")


of the wolf or the cougar as well.


Sagoff notes an early historic


precedent for such an objection to humans


having corresponding obligation


to postulated animal


"rights" not to suffer: in


1916


Ritchie raised the question,


with sarcasm


"Are we not to vindicate


the rights of the persecuted prey of the stronger?"


While Regan rejects the


idea that humans should intervene to prevent acts of predation by nonhuman


animals because


these


"animals are not moral agents,"14 Callicott counters that


oThe essay that


is probably best known for demarcating the


ecocentric view


n contradistinction to the


individual


-centered or "extensionist"


approaches


cott's


"Animal Liberation:


A Triangular Affair


" Environmental


Ethics


(1980):


311-338.


"See


(Princeton,


, for example,


Bryan G.


Norton


Princeton University P


Why Preserve Natural Variety?


ress


,1987) and Toward Unity Among


Environmental


sts (New York: Oxford Unive


rsity Press,


1991).


I 1_


L


4'1 A


1 _








such a consideration is not relevant to protecting the rights of a mora


to be harmed by any of a variety of causes,


patient not


moral agents or otherwise,


ndeed such rights could be said to exist.


And


ndeed


, the proposal


that we


actually eliminate predators from the


biological community for the protection of


their potential prey has been considered and found not to be absurd,


perhaps to be beyond practicality,


from reintroducing predators back


though


6 while a case has been made for refraining

into the wild, on the grounds that the human


who does so


a mora


agent, and the prey who thereby suffer "arguably have a


claim against the person who set this ev


n their midst."1


Another aspect of the problem is brought out by the focu


of many


utilitarians from Bentham to the present day on the avoidance of pain and


suffering.


Callicott takes this orientation to task by countering that pain,


far from


being an "evil," is "primarily information,


" serving as an indicator of "the degree of


exertion needed to maintain fitness"


or a stimulu


without which an animal might,


for example, be unaware of an injury and


attentionn.8


n fact sustain further harm through


He goes on to claim that the doctrine holding "that the happiest


conceivable is one


biologically preposth


n which there is continuou

erous" and to charge that"


pleasure uninterrupted by pain is


'the value commitments of the


humane movement seem at bottom to betray a world-denying or rather a life-


15Callicott,


n Defense


of the Land Ethic,








loathing philosophy

"uncourageous" in


human


," one not only ecologically uninformed but also


attempting to extend to the nonhuman world the wish of


"to exempt themselves from the life/death reciprocities of natural


processes and from ecological


mitation


in the name of a prophylactic eth


Norton


, agrees that on this point also the


"welfare of


individuals" appears to


diverge from the good of the species,


referring to an observation of


Mark


Sagoffs


to the effect that "the best mean


to protect


individual members of


nonhuman species from pain and death is to remove them from the wild and


place them in zoos and botanical gardens.


Norton notes that, if the protection


of endangered species is grounded wholly on a concern over the pleasures and


pain


ndividua


animals


, developers might be all too happy to so collect the


last survivors of an endangered species,


painlessly sterilize them,


and let them


ive out their natural


uxury," though by doing so they would not be


protecting the species itself as an "ongoing entity."21


Norton raises what he


sees


as another (but


ntimately related) problem for


an extensionist ethic


nsofar as one might be appealed to in underwriting the


preservation of rare or endangered species,


his main area of concern.


He points


to the practice of "culling" certain populations of species,


elephants,


uch as African


whose numbers overall may be dramatically reduced but whose


confinement to small protected areas can produce habitat degradation that


1 Ii-a








threaten


the well-being of those that remain to the point of putting the existence


of the entire population


n jeopardy


n discussing the possibility of recognizing


rights or


interests of a


"collective"


entity


uch as a species (which he ultimately


rejects),


he notes that "they cannot be generated simply from the


interests of


individual members because the


interests of


ndividua


will often conflict with


procedures most likely to perpetuate the species,


which must


urvive the death


its members.


The same sort of point has been made with respect to


species that are not endangered; without a predator at the top of the food chain


to keep a prey population


n check


, many kinds of animals may


uffer the effects


of becoming too numerous.


be at stake


Ultimately


, "the good of the biotic community" may


, the consideration that prompts Callicott to observe "thu


to hunt and


kill a white-tailed deer in certain districts may not only be ethically permissible,


might actually be a mora


requirement,


environment, taken as a whole,


from the d


necessary to protect the local


sintegrating effects of a cervid


population explosion.


At this point i


n the discuss


important to distingu


ish a population or


species considered as a collective entity, the


interests"


of which would be


reducible to those of its component individual members,


and a species as a


biological entity


n its own right.


A spec


exists beyond the birth


and deaths of


ts individual members


but it too comes


nto and passes out of existence,


and it


may change i


n various


ways ove


r time; as construed by Holmes


Rolston








defender of the notion that species


n this biological sense are the sorts of things


toward which humans may have duties,


24 a species


"a living historical form,


propagated


individual organ


isms


, that flows dynamically over generations.


Can


uch an entity be said to have


"interests


Some of the kinds of things


that might possibly be said to be


"in the


interests"


of a biological species,


considered as different from


nstantiating individual


, can be gleaned from the


following questions:


Would it be


n the


interest of the species [declining


n population


ize] to


come under steady adaptation


population and,


simultaneou


pressure that both fuel


increases the like


its decline in


hood that it wi


speciate


before


becomes extinct?


a species


"better off"


if it has a larger


population?


IS a sma


, robustly healthy population preferable?


it better


for a species to be moving toward more specialized adaptation


or are


more opportunistic adaptations preferable from its point of view?27


After engaging


in the above speculations, Bryan Norton concludes that these are


"odd questions," of "unclear"'


relationship to the


kelihood of the speci


perpetuation,


and that "without guidance concerning the


interests'


of species,


there is no


sense


of how to proceed toward an answer" to


uch questions; he


goes on to express skeptici


value" to


m over the efficacy of attributing "rights" or


uch entities as species on such a basi


"intrinsic


in the hopes of thereby


preserving them.


24See


Holmes Rolston


Environmental


Ethics: Duties


to and Values in the








The issue of what might constitute the


"good"


or the


interests of an


ecosystem


or "biotic community" deserves


conditions might be identified,


within


closer scrutiny as well.


certain fairly broad boundaries,


While a set of


as being


interests" of human and


sentient nonhuman beings,


and also perhaps of


nonsentient animal life and plants if something like "being conducive to their


continued living and reproducing"


is used as a criterion for


inclusion


, defining a


particular set of conditions as being


n the


interest"


of an ecosystem seems


wrongly to introduce an unsatisfactorily static conception of ecosystemic

functioning. The kind of biotic community that could exist on a particular site may


be determined roughly by consideration


of soi


type, available moisture,


large


landscape features,


prevailing weather


and other


uch conditions


but there st


may be many different possible states


n which the "system"


along a temporal scale of successional stages,


for example,


might be found,


n terms of


species composition and abundance as possibly determined by a host of factors,


many of them incompletely understood at present.


Recent ecological research


showing that there are no


simple


statements to be made about relationships


between terms like "complexity," "stability,


integrity,


" and "balance


"and


ndeed


such terms are generally greatly in need of


arification.


Our present


ack of


knowledge should signal caution


n following a course of action that will tend to


push ecosystem


away from overall pattern


that have prevailed,


even as the


relationships between certain of their components may have varied within a








broad range,


for millennia and toward new patterns,


before been the case.


Trying to claim that we


some of which have never


should avoid doing so because


uch actions would be contrary to the


interests of ecosystems these


however, would seem a difficult task.


Callicott takes his notion of the


"good" to be sought by an ecocentrist from


Aldo Leopold,


who


he claims


, "provides a concise statement of what might be


ed the categorical imperative or principle precept of the


and ethic":


'A thing


right when it tends to preserve the


integrity


stability, and


beauty of the biotic community


n the original formulation of his "land ethic,


is wrong when it tends otherwise.


" Callicott looks to Plato for "a similar


holistic posture";


"goodness"


of the human body or sou


and of human society


"is a function of


ts structure or organization and the relative value of the parts or


constituents of each is calculated according to the contribution made to the


integrity


stability,


and beauty of each whole.""3


On this formulation


precedence taken by the entire


and community (which


includes soils


waters and


plants as well as animals31) over any particular component is clear:


The land ethic manifestly does not accord equa
and every member of the biotic community; the


moral worth to each


moral worth of


individual


(including,


take note


human


individual


is relative


to be


assessed in accordance with the particular relation of each to the


collective entity which Leopold ca


and.


2Calli


cott,


"A Triangular Affair," 320,


quoting Leopold,


A Sand County








However


, in response


organismic mode


that he does not


to a challenge that he might be operating on a static or


of ecosystems or biotic communities,


"think that biological communities have


principally concerned with


land eth


"interest-safeguarding.


"Animal Liberation and Environmental Eth


Callicott makes it clear


interests


nor i


n a later defense of the


Back Together Again,"


he draws on the thought of Charles Darwin and David Hume


n grounding our


moral proclivities in the evolved social feelings toward others of the socia


communities of which we may be a part;


such an approach yields "a holistic as


well as an individualistic moral orientation," since "we care


in other words


for our


communities per


over and above their


individual members."'36


He also steps


back from an apparent earlier disdain for domestic animals (he refers to them as


"living artifacts"


n "A Triangular Affair"37) to embrace Mary Midgley'


notion of


"the mixed community"


of human societies and their associated nonhuman


animals as a satisfactory complement to Leopold's


"biotic community,


" allowing


, on a view of "nested overlapping community entanglements," we may still


"subject to al


the other more particular and


individually oriented duties to the


members of our various more circumscribed and


intimate communities


," and,


33See Kristin


Shrader-Frechette


,"Biologica


Holism and the Evolution of


," Between the Species 7 (1990),


185-92.


34Callicott


, "Reply


" Between the Species


7 (1990):


193.


,








"since they are closer to home,


they come first."38


Thus


, for example,


one


should not allow a wild predator to help herself to one's


free-range chickens,


members of one' s


immediate mixed community,


" but


"neither


should one


interfere


, other thing


being equa


n the


interaction of the wild members of the


biotic community.''39


since


as wi


be documented


in cons


derable deta


later


dissertation


the rapidly


increasing human population is,


n many parts of the world,


having a


devastating effect on the nonhuman individuals,


population


n many cases


species that make up biotic communities or ecosystem


an effect that seemingly


could be construed as working against the preservation of "the


integrity


stability


and beauty"


of such communities


, if not as negatively affecting their


"interests,"


does the ecocentric ethic of Callicott


or the similar view of Norton


, offer anything


of substance with which we may address the problem?


On this particular point,


two different


interpretations of a "holistic"


"ecosystemic"


orientation can


think


, begin to be discerned most clearly.


one view


, the message to be gleaned from the interrelatedness of a


the biotic community is the appropriate


of a respectfu


members of


humility on the part of


human beings: as put by Aldo Leopold,


a land ethic '"changes the role of Homo


sapiens from conqueror of the land community to plain member and citizen of


it."'40


For an ecocentrist consistently holding this perspective,


integrity of the








larger whole,


ndividua


the functioning ecosystem,


part of it,


takes precedence over that of any


and this rule applies equally to human and nonhuman beings


alike; thu


, if human beings become so numerous that the "good" of the


ecological community is threatened,

were deer that had overpopulated, a


the situation is at base no different than if it

mnd we should so acknowledge the fact and


take corrective action.


A second possibility


however


that the human


organism is still


considered somehow special and not equally held to the


demands of living within the bounds appropriate to the species' niche within the


ecosystem


value


ascribed to the


integrity of the functioning system,


ultimately only


nsofar as this functioning tends to serve human interests.


other words


such


"ecocentrism"


is rea


y just a relatively enlightened form of


anthropocentrism,


enlightened only to the fact that dysfunctional ecosystems,


past a certain point, cannot continue to serve human interests.41


n "A Triangular Affair," Callicott appears to be aware of the potential risk of


an ecocentric position collapsing


nto a merely anthropocentric one,


noting that


41This second


, degenerate form of "ecocentrism"


, in my experience,


often


what


is embraced by conservationists original


y schooled


n the


"wildlife


management" approach to dealing with nonhuman animals;


it is decided,


sometimes with apparent relish,


that the


ives of


ndividua


nonhuman animals


must be "sacrificed" for the benefit of the ecosystem at


arge,


whereas a


corresponding
human desires


"sacrifice"


on the part of human


, is rarely asked,


, even of some very


nessentia


even when such a sacrifice might do far more


tnwardl mainftininn n nocv/Qtrm'


C "intnritv "


lni ,rhhinn ths nrnnnsfnI in








some


suspicion may arise at this point that the land ethic is ultimately


grounded


in human


interests


n those of nonhuman natural


entities.


Just as we might prefer a sound and attractive house


to one


n the


opposite condition,
environment seem
variety.42


so the


"goodn


ess" of a who


rather to be of the


instrumental


, stable, and beautiful


not the


ntrinsic,


He denies that such is the


position he is presenting,


however


, maintaining that


"Leopold


insists upon a noninstrumenta


mutatis mutandis for


ts constituents."43


value for the biotic community and


On the first formulation of his land ethic,


Callicott thu


does not appear to


embrace anthropocentrism,


showing


instead


evidence of


nterspecific consistency


n his ecocentrism.


He acknowledges


If the


and ethic were only a mean


of managing nature for the sake of


man


, misleadingly phrased


in mora


terminology,


then man would be


cons


idered as having an ultimate value essentially different from that of


his "resources.'44


n contradistinction to such a position,


Callicott maintain


"the biospheric


perspective does not exempt Homo sapiens from moral evaluation


n relation to


the well-being of the community of nature taken as a whole.


Furthermore, he


recognizes, "a globa

approaching six billic


population of more than four billion person


n little over a decade past his writing!)


(now


"a globa


disaster. for the biotic community.''46


In some of his later writings, however


position with respect to the


mora


statu


of human beings becomes


less clear.


"Back Together Again," for


42Callicott


, "A Triangular Affair,"


325.


..aa a


A .. .








example,


n addition to adopting a more conciliatory position


n regard to


domestic animals, he clarifies


"the acknowledgement of a holistic


environmental ethic does not entail that we abrogate our familiar mora


obligation


to family members,


to fellow citizens, [or] to all mankind,"4


a position


that would not necessarily herald the return of anthropocentrism;


in "Mora


Considerability and Extraterrestrial Life," however


the last essay


included within


n Defense


of the Land Ethic, he speaks of "the practical primacy of human


human needs


, and human right," and appears to endorse the


"weak


anthropocentrism" of Bryan Norton,


to be considered


hortly.48


Perhaps more


importantly,


he seems to have relatively little further to say about the moral


implication


of continued human population expansion,


nsofar as it might be


construed as running counter to the precepts of his land ethic.


Callicott'


views on human diets as outlined in his early essay should be


mentioned here


n passing,


since they also bear upon his views with respect to


the human population.


While he acknowledges that,


strictly speaking,


human


are not carnivores


, he judges that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet


would be "tantamount to a shift of trophic niche from omnivore with carnivorous


preferences to herbivore.'"4


If this should happen,


he predicts that


"the human


population would probably, as past trends overwhelmingly suggest,


expand


accordance with the potential thu


accorded" for an


increase


n available food


resources


, on ecological princip


(as will be examined in chapters 4 and








he thus concludes


"a vegetarian human population is therefore probably


ecologically catastrophic."50


Bryan Norton,


n contrast to the early Ca


icott


, exp


hies away from the


implication


of what he term


monisticc holism


,"a position that places ultimate


value on ecosystem


over and above all


individuals; on this view, he asserts:


Monistic


holism seems committed to valuing human


only


nsofar as they


contribute to ecosystem functioning.


Assuming,


as most environmentalists


now do


that human activity


have on the who


a negative effect on


ecosystem functioning,


member of an ecologica
many human lives.51


individual human


ives would be negatively valued.


y important endangered species would be worth


interestingly, Callicott and Norton both point to Edward Abbey's


avowal


n Desert


itaire, that he would


the sort of "misanthropy"'


"sooner


hoot a man than a snake"52 as an example of


or "antihumanistic


consequences" that they respectively


believe must accompany a consistently


ecoce


ntric position,


but Callicott ("A


Triangular Affair") does


so with what seems to be at least an approval of Abbey's


bluntn


, while Norton reacts with apparent discomfort at the position's


"highly


unusual and sure to be widely rejected system of ethics.


n earlier


essays,


Norton has denied the


possibility of grounding an


environmental ethic


on the rights or


interests of


individual nonhumans and has


instead argued for the


"adequacy" of a


"weak anthropocentric" position to support


r// a








human action


that would protect,


rather than damage,


the environment.'


Why Preserve Natural Variety?


he affirms that the


"weak anthropocentrism"


endorses


"is a form of anthropocentrism because


it attributes no intrinsic value to


nonhuman species.


examines anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism


of two varieties


, one valuing nonhuman as wel


as human individuals and the


other valuing


"collectives" such as species


and ecosystem


as he searches for a


rationale to undergird a policy of preserving threatened and endangered species.


Of the former variety of nonanthropocentrism,

as that of Peter Singer, which is based on the


a nonanthropocentric stance such

"positive" analogy with human


beings


nsofar as the objects of his mora


concern or


oci of


ntrin


ic value"


share


the possession of


sentience


is rejected because it cannot offer a basis for the


protection of nonsentient animals and plants,


nor can it lead to a special concern


for endangered species.


ndividual-centered position


such as that of Pau


Taylor (which will be examined i


n chapter 3) are accused of "a retreat


vaguen


ess"


because their case for attributing


ntrinsic value" to nonhuman


entities


relies primarily on


"denying the disanalogy," or showing that there is no


"5He hold


that anthropocentric position


are those 'which treat humans as


the only
follows:


oci of


intrinsic value"


and defines


the two form


"A value theory is strongly anthropocentric if al


is explained by reference to satisfaction


A value theory


is weakly anthropocentri


, weak and strong, as
value countenanced by it


of felt preferences of human individuals.
if all value countenanced by it is


explained by reference to satisfaction of some felt preference of a human


individual or by reference to its bearing upon the idea


which exist as elements


. ... | I


d J


a


. f S -


.II 1 I


I rt n 'S Ia rI fl S I a.. a a a a a a a a* a ab a a a a a A a a a a a a a a VP a S -


A






19

relevant difference between human and nonhuman with respect to such value

attributions (rather than building a positive position for the nonhuman possession


of a particular characteristic on which such value turns).


e such position


can extend our moral consideration


, or postulate


ntrinsic value


," with respect to


the nonsentient, furthermore,


they still cannot generate reasons for according


additional moral concern to members of endangered species.


enough,


(Strangely


no rigorous demand is made of the proponents of anthropocentrism to


set forth an equally positive case for why humans


should be said to possess


intrinsic value, the widespread but largely unexamined assumptions of our culture


presumably being taken to provide support enough,


even though Norton's


cursory


nto anthropocentrism finds this position,


also


to be at least as


deficient


n philosophic underpinning.57)


Manifesting a high degree of conce


rn for practicality,


Norton


ists among the


reasons that he finds the


ndividual-centered nonanthropocentric position


unsatisfactory their implication


for the


"management" of population


of certain


species and the potential


analogy that could be drawn w


h respect to our own


population:


species


have


ntrin


c value because


of the


intrinsic value of their


members on analogy to the


severe


intrinsic value of human


individual


then


mitations must be placed on the management techniques


available to preservationists.


justified according to thi


For example,


herd culling could be


approach only if we were equally we


prepared to exterminate human


individual


when population


exceed


their carrying capacity.


nce this


policy would be decried as absolutely








immora
given T


in the case


aylor's


of humans


, it could not be applied to other species,


analogy.58


He finds that attributing


ntrinsic value" to a species over and above that


attributed to its member


individuals


, while perhaps possibly compatible w


han


ndividual-centered view, will not be a viable approach because "the value of the


members will often be in conflict with the value of the species,

such management decisions; on this basis, Norton holds, seei


"with respect to


mingly with


approval,


that "when one


ustifies differentia


treatment of


individuals because of


the statu


of their species,


one treats


individual


as means


to the preservation of


species and denies that they are ends-in-themselves.


Norton thus concludes


"all theories


that generate the


intrinsic value of species


from the


ntrin


value placed on


individuals can be eliminated from serious


consideration as a


support for species preservation.""'


He appears to flirt with the idea of


recognizing


intrinsic value


n species and ecosystems, to the extent that th


taken to be


"the real task at hand" for nonanthropocentrists "rather than" basing


their theories on the valuing of


individuals6 1


But his own over


position,


if it is


holistic to the extent that species and ecosystems figure largely


clearly an anthropocentric one,


n its focu


based on a great divide existing between


* 1 A A a


rrllll I








humans


, the only


"locus of intrinsic value


everything else


that surrounds


them.


interestingly enough,


later


nWhv P


reserve


Natura


Variety?


Norton


recogn


izes


"two great ideas" that come together


n shaping the


"ecologica


world


view": "Darwinian biology has taugh


us that humans are


, basically,


evolved


animals


" while


"ecology has taught us that evolution works within almost


unbelievably complex and


nterrelated organic system


on interlocking


observes that those who hold this


"ecological world view"


environmentally destructive actions in which humanity


"symptomatic of a deeper crisis,


is now engaged as


" "a rejection of a deep truth about ourselves--


that we differ from other living things only


n the


nature of our adaptations.


With


respect to this "deeper crisis,


" he finds that


"if we do not know who we are


kely that we will adopt a rationally justifiable value system.'"


Later in this dissertation


attempt to develop an


ndividual-centered ethic


that may


, I think, take us a bit further than those of Singer


Regan,


Taylor


the other


ndividualist


thinkers who have begun addressing environmental


problem


toward meeting some of the challenges that have been raised by the


ecocentrists con


idered here.


also


will evaluate its capability to address the


problem of human population growth that Callicott and Norton seem to have


abandoned.


First, however


, I will present my own


case


for rejecting


anthropocentrism.


submit that truly "knowing who we are,


as Norton would








have it


, will carry u


far beyond anthropocentrism


n our dealings with our


coevolutionary partners,


as well as enlightening us about the way


n which we


might more properly fill our niche within the larger "biotic community" or

biosphere.













CHAPTER


EVOLUTIONARY CONTINUITY


THE BAS


FOR REJECTION OF ANTHROPOCENTRISM


One underlying theme of this dissertation


is that


whatever the moral


framework we will ultimately adopt with respect to environmental


issues


it should


be in overall congruence with our empirical understanding of the origins and


nterrelationships of the lifeform


currently


nhabiting the planet, not


fundamentally at odds with this basic picture.


In this chapter,


will examine some


of the current thinking pertaining to our planet's


extinction of lifeform


history of the evolution and


and certain elements of the Darwinian theory of evolution


through natural selection. The m

background against which various


material is presented to provide an empirica


ethical approaches may be evaluated.


A Snapshot of Life on the Planet


Present evidence


indicates that the Earth


, along with the rest of the solar


system,


came


nto existence about 4.6 b


on years ago.


The first living things in


the fossil record are bacterial forms dating from somewhere around


years ago,'


4 billion


including cyanobacteria ("blue-green algae") capable of carrying out


the photosynthes


is that u


imately produced an oxygen-rich








atmosphere,


needed by later form


for respiration and for


hielding from


ultraviolet radiation.


The first eukaryotes,


organisms with true nuclei and other


cellular organelles,


seem to have appeared around 1 billion years ago and the


first multicellular animal form


ust under 650 million years ago.


During the


Cambrian period,


roughly between 600 and 500 million years ago,


representatives of most of the major phyla capable of leaving fossilized remain


seem to have appeared rather suddenly


in what has been called a veritable


"explosion"


of diversity.


The first vertebrate fossils (phylum Chordata),


jawless,


finless fishlike animals


date from


510 million-year-old marine sediments.


Vertebrate evolution proceeded over subsequent geologic time periods,


bony and cartilaginou


400 million years ago,


fishes


arising and diversifying during the Devonian,


with amphibian


emerging to colonize the land.

around 300 million years ago,


, bryophytes and some vascular plants


Reptiles first appeared


in the Pennsylvanian,


with the arrival of the amniote egg,


helped


structure


enclosing


its own water and nutrients that freed them from dependence


on environmental water for embryonic development.


around 250 million years ago,


At the end of the Permian,


came the greatest extinction event ever known on


the planet,


with more than half the families


of foss


izable marine


nvertebrates,


and possibly as many as 96% of the total number of species,


plunging


extinction; one theory attributes its cause


continents drifted together to form the


to loss of the shallow


Sees


seas


upercontinent of Pangaea.








Vertebrate life was relatively less affected by these changes,


flourished during the Mesozoic era,


and reptiles


extending from 248 to 65 million years before


the present


The reptilian ancestors of the mammals appeared


in the


Triassic,


about 200 million years ago,


and the earliest bird fossils date from the Jurassic


around 180 million years ago.


100 million years ago,


The first flowering plants appeared a


a major increase


ttle over


n their diversity paralleling a


imultaneous diversification of insect pol


nators


n the Cretaceous.


The second


greatest extinction event occurred at the


end of the Cretaceous


around 65


million years ago, the causes of which remain controversial,


one theory relating it


to Earth's


impact with an asteroid; about a quarter of extant fam


ies disappeared


at th


time


, including,


most prominently


the dinosaurs.


During the Cenozoi


,spanning the


ast 65 million years,


most of the


ies of plants and animals with which we are familiar made their first


appearance.


Placental mammals began to differentiate


forerunners of the horses


, camels and elephants appearing


n the Paleocene, with


n the Eocene 55-38


million years ago and those of most modern even-toed ungulates


Oligocene 38-25 million years ago.


in the


Carnivores are known from the Paleocene


but most modern form


diversified


n the Eocene and Oligocene,


seals


in the


Miocene and bears in the Pliocene.


The primates,


"one of the morphologically


most primitive of mamma


an orders


arose from insectivoran stock during the


Paleocene.


The earliest representative of the modern apes and human








Fossil


identified as Homo saoien


date from around 200,000 years ago, though


some specimen


with modern features can be found as far back as 400,000


years.4


Most of the plants and anima


extant today thu


coevolved over the past


65m


lion years,


with our own species being one of the


atest arrival


on the


planetary scene.


The many of the lifeform


of the Cenozoic are now facing what


may be considered the third greatest extinction event in planetary history


with


biological diversity again dropping at a rate approaching that attained at the


termination of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras.


This time around


however


nature of its cause is not at all controversial: our fellow species are rapidly being

extinguished as a direct result of our own human activities.

The Third Great Extinction Crisis


There


paleontologica


evidence for our early human ancestors being


responsible for the extinction of a number of large vertebrate form


continents in the distant and not-so-distant past.


from several


As recounted by Jared


Diamond


these


include at least 28 species of birds,


including the moas and a


large duck,


coot


, goose,


pelican,


swan


raven


and a "colossa


eagle"


exterminated from New Zealand by the Maoris between 1000 and 1800 A.D.


elephant birds,


two species of giant


and tortoises and a dozen species of lemur


ranging


n size up to that of a gorilla eliminated from Madagascar by the


Malagasy arriving between one and two thousand years ago,6 and,


more








controversially


South America'


the extinction of 73 percent of North America's


biggest land mammal species--mammoth


and 80 percent of


, mastodonts,


camels


horses


, giant ground sloths,


sabertooth cats and other beasts--by the


Clovis hunters entering the New World through the Bering Strait 11


ago.


-12,000 years


Dramatic as such exterminations may have been in the past, what remain


is now undeniably at threat as a result of our having both far greater power to

exterminate combined with there being far more of us than have ever existed


before on the planet.


but not limited to habitat destruction


impact of the summation of human activities, including


, on nonhuman species is resulting in a rate


of anthropogenic species extinction presently estimated to be from 1,000 to


10,000 times


what the nonanthropogenic


"background"


rate would be and ri


rapidly


threatening to assume proportion


rivalling the rate of loss at the time of


the dem


of the dinosaurs


, 65 million years ago.8


Predictions of loss of up to


50% of the planet's specie

primarily as a result of the


,s within the next several decades have been made


increasingly rapid rate of disappearance of the


speci


es-rich tropical forests,


with a large percentage of what is to be lost


consisting of


nsect species.


If present trends continue,


however


included


within the


will be many of the charismatic coevolutionary partners we are


more accustomed to identifying with,


as will be discussed later


. One team of


341-47


also Diamond


"Overview of Recent Extinction


n David


I|A -_- _J .A. .. ,I


..- A 1 f- 'a.- t.- -


A


J r II








researchers has estimated that virtually all nonhuman primates and large


carnivores and most hoofed mammals may become extinct i


n the wild over the


next hundred years,


to say nothing of many


many


mailer vertebrates,


nvertebrates, and plants.10


enormous


The planetary changes we are facing are so


that some scientists have begun discussing a possible end to


evolution


at least for a time.


Conservation biologist Michael Soul6


assesses


situation as follows:


At best


acuna


,the planet'


macrobiota


entering a kind of pause,


, caused by the human usurpation of the land


surface.


an evolutionary


For the


survivors


,the pause


will last until the human population declines to a


biologically tolerable


evel--a


at which land appropriated by human


returned to nature
background level.


, and extinction rates return to the (paleontological)


should be made clear that what is going on today,


through anthropogenic extinction,


the loss of species


for the most part quite different from the


"natural"


extinction process.


Over evolutionary time,


species


that are less well


adapted to their environments become replaced by others that are better


adapted.


The process is generally quite slow; if environmental conditions are


gradually changing,


there is time for


individuals with slightly more favorable traits


to be


selected out of a population and to pass on their genes to progeny that will


increasingly


united to the new complex of condition


With human-created


Oft-Ai'h^ Cal,


a'*lnr I m Tk


n: :L. -


* ilI


rflrh P llrorM iAlI


"lT^k


l 'n rIn:L l ll li lF II I


I C_&








habitat alterations


however


there


is no time for the processes of natural


selection to operate,


as Frankel and Soule explain:


There


simply no way that


evolution


arge plants and anima


can keep


up with the rate


at which] man


is modifying the planet'


surface.


damming of a river may take a decade,


but the evolution of fishes


adapted


akes rather than rivers may take thousands of generations.


same kind of operative


principle holds


n regard to organisms adapted to


terrestrial systems, when such complex natural


habitats are converted


nto crop


monocultures or "developed" to provide residential housing,


they note, and they


are explicit about the human cau


role:


n historical time


, not a single species


of plant or animal is known to have


become extinct except by the direct or


direct hand of man."


Holmes


between the two processes


in their


Rolston emphasizes the marked difference


implications:


Anthropogenic extinction has nothing to do with evolutionary speciation.


Hundreds of thousand


of species


will perish because


of culturally altered


environments that are radica


y different from the spontaneous environments


n which such


species were naturally


ected and


n which they sometimes


go extinct.


In natural


extinction


, nature takes away


ife--when


it has become


unfit i


n habitat or when the


habitat alters--and supp


other


n its place.


Artificia
Natural


extinction shuts down tomorrow because it


extinction typically occurs w


huts down speciation.


h transformation either of the extinct


line or related or competing I
opens doors; the other close


ines.


them.


generate and regenerate nothing;


My first snapshot was thus of the


Artificia


extinction is without issue.


n artificial


extinction


they only dead-end these


ong,


One


humans
lines.14


slow process of evolution of the


ifeforms that we know today on Earth,


~j a n~ -t--~ -


the second of their rapid demise now


-.* -rr n tr nl*n n*n ne.nI. 4;nl nlA r nI*. f


Allrrl


I" .. ,I I








occurring at our hands, both pictures as drawn by our current scientific


understanding.


the biological


Let u


sciences


take a quick


ook at some of the theorizing that goes on


and then return for a closer


inspection of certain


particular aspects of th


pictures,


before turning to a discussion of ethical


issues.


Evolutionary Bioloav: Some Theoretica


Points


'm also going to proceed on th


understanding that the theory


or set of


theories


, first formulated by Charles Darwin continues to underlie the


preponderance of work ongoing


n the biological sciences today,


recognizing that Darwinism has its detractors,


refrain from offering any kind of


defense


ts favor


. Charles Darwin did not have available to him as much of the


foss


record as we do today,


uch evidence as he did have


, in conjunction


with the evidence of biogeography,


morphology


embryology


observation


animal behavior


, and his knowledge of domestic animal breeding led him to offer


an explanation for why we


what we


n the natural world that sti


prevails


today


Ernst Mayr divides Darwin's


thinking


nto five separate theories,


providing


a helpfu


clarification of evolutionary themes,


some of which will be of more


gnificance


than others for our purposes here.15


The first is the theory that evolution as


uch has occurred


"fact"


evolution as outlined above

prevails on the planet, which


, and that steady change,


h is of considerable age.


not constancy or cyclicity

Second is the theory of








together as having been derived from a common ancestor


among living organisms represented by a branching diagra


the relationships

m, ultimately tracing


all life to a common origin.


Darwin'


third theory is identified as that of


multiplication of species, explaining the origin of the great diversity of


species


over space at a single period of time,


what Mayr calls


"horizontal evolutionism"


opposed to the


"vertica


evolutionism"


focusing on changes within a taxonomic


group over time; Darwin held that single species can give rise


species (and potentially higher taxa),


to two or more new


either through the geographical isolation of


"founder" population


that go on to evolve separately into new species


or by


splitting


nto lines that differentiate without geographical isolation to occupy


different environmental niches.


Gradualism is the fourth theory attributed to


Darwin


, the view that changes occur


owly and gradually within species


rather


than suddenly and drastically as the saltational view would have it.


And


, finally


natural selection is named as the fifth Darwinian theory, explaining evolutionary


change by the differential survival


and reproduction of


individuals that possess


the most advantageou


combination of heritable characteristics in a population;


characterized as a two-step process,

with environmental conditions then ".


variation occurs within each generation,


selecting" from it those favorably-endowed


individuals which will go on to contribute their heritable traits to the next.


Darwin'


Many of


peers had reservations about the latter three theories, and natural


selection


Darwin'


mechanism for evolutionary change,


was not widely accepted








The key Darwinian theory for my purposes


is that of common descent, and


hope to explore shortly certain issues


of similarity and difference,


or continuity


and differentiation


with this


n mind.


First, however


ke to note a couple of


points related to Darwinian evolution as currently understood.


One obstacle that


hindered the acceptance of Darwin'


theories


n the nineteenth century


detailed by Mayr (and one that may


ill constitute a problem for certain current


concerns),


was the domination of the science of Darwin'


day (and perhaps of


the popular worldview to the present time) by physics and mathematics,


accompanied by commitments to mechanism,


determinism


n particular


essentialism.


Mayr traces


esse


ntialist or "typological"


thinking back to Plato's


notion of the eidos, the "idea" that is reflected only imperfectly in the variable and


temporary things of the world; according to the essentialist view,


the entities of


the natural


kinds


world may be classified as falling


nto a limited number of natural


, each with its own distinctive and unchangable essence,


with the idea


scientific theory providing a mathematics


applicable to all entities of a given kind.16

resist the notion of species evolving at all,


formulation of a universal law

One subscribing to essentialism would

or at best would have to construe


evolution as occurring in saltatory leaps from one natural


kind to another


with


any selective process acting


n an all-or-none fashion to weed out


disadvantageou


new types.


Darwin'


theory of natural selection,


however


was


based on what Mayr term


"population thinking,


" an understanding that








described collectively only


n statistical terms. "17


The "populationist"


is free to


conceive of variation as occurring


in hundreds or thousands of traits of each


individual i


n every generation,


with a


ow change


n the statistics


distribution of


certain traits within a population coming about as


ndividua


with a greater


number of favorable traits


urvive to reproduce


ucceeding generations.


Recognition of the uniquen


of the


individual


thus critical to a grasp of


natural selection


, as Mayr states,


"it was


Darwin's


geniu


that this


uniqueness of each


ndividua


not limited to the human species but


equa


true for every sexually reproducing species of animal and plant."18

The relevance of the Darwinian rejection of essentialism will become


apparent,


hope,


ater in this discussion


, but perhaps the role


it wil


play


should


be indicated briefly now.


uses

esse


Mayr


n his examination of the two types of thinking,


the example of race within the human species:

ntialist] stresses that every representative of a


"the typologist [or


race has the typical


characteristics of that race and differs from all representatives


other races


by the characteristics 'typical' for the


en race


," while the population thinker


recognizes that,


traits


if no two


individuals are the


, then no two groupings of


ndividua


same


with respect to a myriad of


can be the same


in this regard,


refers to groupings of


individuals within all plant and animal species as different


races simply if the average difference


between each group


"is sufficiently great to


be recognizable


on sight.


Mayr goes on to state,


with respect to the








essential


st view


"all racist theories are built on this foundation.''"20


One


might add all sexist and speciesist theories to his list as well--including the


"wildlife management" school of thought that holds the


nonhuman


individual


to be


completely expendable,


rrelevan


within the scheme of things except


nsofar


as it


is a representative of its species--and note that "this foundation" is not supported

by Darwinian evolutionary theory.


Secondly,


currently understand it,


ordered


'd like to clarify briefly that the process of evolution,


has no direction or purpose,


as we


and organisms are not to be


n hierarchical fashion as if ascending a ladder toward


some evolutionists


certain notion


, past and present,


of "progress,


"perfection." While


may express views linking evolution to


"such views are controversial at best and need to be


made explicit in relation to a defined standard of reference.21


n the words of


Stephen Jay Gould,


organism


become better adapted to their local


environments


and that is a


; the 'degeneracy'


of a parasite is as perfect as the


gait of a gaze


Darwinism presents an opposing view to the fo


owing


picture drawn by Aristotle:


We may


nfer that, after the birth of anima


, plants exist for their sake,


the other anima


exist for the


sake of man


the tame for use and food


the wild


if not a


east the greater part of them, for food, and for the


provision of clothing and various


instruments.


Now if nature makes nothing


M2Ibid.








complete,


and nothing


in vain


nference must be that


he has made all


animals for the sake of man.23


In contrast with the above passage,


Darwin writes


n On the


Oriain of


Species


"What natural


selection cannot do


, is modify the structure of one


species,


without giving it any advantage,


for the good of another species; and


though statements to this effect may be found


n works of natural history,


cannot


find one


case


which will bear investigation."24


Gould


is even more direct about


the way in which Aristotle,


suggest that the


in the above


true Darwinian


, got it wrong:

spirit might salvage our depleted world by


denying a favorite theme of Western arrogance--that we are meant to have


control


and dominion over the Earth and


ife because


we are the loftiest


product of a preordained pro


cess.35


It is Darwin'


second theory, however


the theory of common descent,


believe


or should be


, of greatest


mport


n our effort to


our place within the


scheme of things.


Mayr holds that the theory of common descent "has been


gloriously confirmed by a


researches since 1859":


"everything we have learned


about the physiology and chemistry of organism


speculation that 'all the organic being


supports Darwin'


which have ever


daring


ived on this earth have


descended from some


one


primordial form,


nto which life was first breathed'


Mayr also states that


"perhaps the most


important consequence of the theory of


common descent was the change


n the position of man";


while


, prior to Darwin,


2Aristotle


Politics


n Richard McKeon


,The


Basic Works of Aristotle (New York:


Random House,


1941),


1137.


24lhsarlA s arwin


fn the nrinin nf .nanriac


A Fircimil nf tho


Firet Frirfinn








philosophers and theologian

apart from the rest of life," D


were united i


arwin and h


n be


follower


ving that "man was a creature

s "demonstrated conclusively


that humans must have evolved from an ape-like ancestor


thus putting them


right


nto the phylogenetic tree of the animal kingdom.


Mayr concludes,


far too


hopefu


n my opinion,


that "this was the


end of the traditional anthropocentrism


of the Bible and of the philosophers."28


A Search for


"GaDs"


n the Emoirica


World


My perception,


however


, is that anthropocentrism,


the view that human


ndeed


separated from nonhuman life by some sort of wide gap that


underwrites recognizing an exceedingly divergent mora


is still widespread and continues to be propagated as a cultural


status between the two,


phenomenon,


even within the ranks of scientists and philosophers who otherwise profess an


egiance to Darwinism.


n light- of my perception,


would like to recount some


of the


great mass of evidence against anthropocentrism and in favor of


evolutionary continuity uniting human beings with all other


has indeed accumulated since 1859.


ifeform


The separation of human


believe


ife from all other


life can


of course


be construed


n purely valuationa


term


without necessitating


any factual separation,


hope to explore further later (though perhaps not


here),


think there must be some sort of correspondence


between the


way one


cuts the physical world at its


joints and the


way one


cuts the moral world if one is


to hold a coherent worldview.


A brief search is on


therefore


for the








human/nonhuman


"gaps.


" What kinds of "gaps" can be postulated as existing in


the natural world on the basis of the evidence we now have?


One sort of "gap" that can be supported by evidence,


a clearcut div


ion of


the world around u


in term


milarity and difference,


is a gap between the


living and the nonliving.


A critical point that Mayr makes much of (though many


others strangely fai


to acknowledge it in th


eir discussions of


,say


servomechanisms) i


that of the unity of the genetic code.


Not only can we


attempt to characterize living organisms by their propensity for


and reproduction,


self-maintenance


tendencies not generally exhibited by nonliving entities,


now know that a


organism


are united


n their possession of


"a historically


evolved genetic program,


encoded


n nucleic acid (DNA or RNA),


underlies and accounts for such propensity.


"Perhaps there was an intermediate


condition at the time of the origin of life,


" Mayr notes,


"but for the last three bi


years or more th


distinction between


ving and non


ving matter has been


complete."'3


Beyond this strikingly major "gap"


gnificant


dividing the world,


ubdivisions within the group of living things?


can we point to further


"Plants and anima


may come readily to mind,


preferred way of carving up the organic


n fact a more recent and what seems to be the


world nowadays is a division


kingdoms: (1) the Prokaryotae (formerly the Monera),


the bacteria


, single


e-ce


organ


isms


lacking a nucleu


and other organelles;


) the Protoctista,








heterogenous group of eukaryotic organism


, possessing nuclei and organelles,


often unicellular; and (3) the


Fung


(4) the Animalia,


and (5) the Plantae,


eukaryotes representing the three principal


modes of obtaining nutrition:


absorptive,


ngestive,


and photosynthetic.31


The four groups of eukaryotes differ


markedly from prokaryotes


n both structure and biochemistry.


In prokaryotes,


DNA is not organized into chromosomes and not combined with protein,


divide by binary fission,


not mitosis or meiosis, mitochondria are absent,


and a


great variety of metabolic pathway


are exhibited within the group as a whole;


the eukaryotes,


on the other hand


, all have membrane-bound nuclei containing


chromosomes made of nucleic acid and proteins and show cel


division with


mitotic spindle formation,


most exhibit meiosis and sexual reproduction,


all have


the same basic metabolic patterns:


Embden-Meyerhof glucose metabolism,


Krebs cycle oxidations, cytochrome electron transport chains.


within the living world that we are looking for


If it is a "gap"


to quote the originator of the


"five


kingdom"


classification


, "these contrasts between the prokaryotic cells of bacteria


and blue-green algae,


clearest


and the eukaryotic cells of other organisms,


, most effectively discontinuou


define the


separation of levels of organization in the


living world.


A


a a ta K L.-- a...--- A -


m. _A


II a ai


. S


-I- J J .


*nI








If we wi


h to seek out evidence for further subdivisions within the animal


kingdom,


we might turn to embryology.34


Animalia comprises


multicellular eukaryotes wh


characterized by three germ layers,


mesoderm layer is rudimentary


Excepting the sponges,


embryonic dev


ectoderm


kingdom


elopment is


endoderm and mesoderm


n animals with radial symmetry


uch as


. The

jellyfish,


corals and comb


ellies.


Most animals


however


exhibit bilatera


symmetry, and


three germ layers are distinct.


Within this


group,


the Bilateria


,a sharp


division can be drawn between the protosomes,


including


nvertebrate phyla of


the molluscs


, arthropods and worm


, in which the mouth region


are the first to


form


, with the body cavity arising from the hollowing out of a solid block of


mesoderm


, and the deuterosomes, encompassing the echinoderm and chordate


phyla,


atter including all vertebrate animals;


in the latter group,


the mouth


region is the second to form,


results from mesoderma


following the anal region,


outpouching from the gut.


and the body cavity


Additional clear


developmental differences exist between these two major groups of bilateral


symmetric animals: protosomes


exhibit


piral


eavage


in the


course of cell


division


while deuterosomes


how radia


cleavage;


furthermore


deuterosomes


can regulate development such that,


if a sing


blastomere is removed from a 4-


cell embryo (be it sea urchin or human),


it and


remaining 3-cel


embryo can


each go on to form an entire organism of normal morphology


whereas the same


procedure


n a protosome would result


n formation of partia


organism


each








Within the phylum Chordata,


what we are accustomed to thinking of as


vertebrate anima


are now grouped as the


Craniata


, chordates having a brain


enclosed by a sku


, and placed


n the


ubphylum Gnathostomata,


as animals


having jaws and (usually) paired appendages; though many of u


have probably


been unaware of it


the tradition


vertebrate/inve


rtebrate dichotomy has been


superseded,


since (in the words of Five Kingdoms authors Lynn Margulis and


Karlene Schwarz)


"we now realize that


, from a less species-centered point of


view


, characteristics other than backbones are more basic and reflect much


earlier evolutionary divergences.


And what kinds of "gaps"


do we find within


"vertebrates


" or Gnathostomata?


With all the focus these days on the


ife of


the fetus


, one would think that members of the religious right would have


discovered by now some


interesting facts that might provide them with some


food for thought.


"vertebrate"


embryos (I w


continue to use the term


"vertebrate" for the sake of convenience here) are very similar


virtually


indistinguishable,


at the early stages


of their development.


To take the case of


the human embryo,


since it it such a focu


ization--in other words


of controversy, by the fifth week after


, about three weeks after a missed period,


around the


time the vast majority of women would be discovering their pregnancies and


making the decision whether or not to continue them--the embryo,


about a


quarter of an


size


, shows undifferentiated paddle-shaped


mb buds


rudimentary facial structure and the same kind of skin a


vertebrates


initially








that develop


nto the actual functional gills of adult fishes.36


While


ndeed


possessed of a beating heart, at this stage the heart is two-chambered,


ike that


of a fish


and its brain


little more than a simple tubular structure that is much


same in all developing amphibians,


reptiles,


birds and mammals.


Darwin


considered the developmental


arities discovered in the study of embryology


to be some of the strongest evidence for his theory of common descent:


"community


n embryonic structure reveals community of descent.


Embryology rises greatly in


picture,


interest


more or less obscured


, when we thus look at the embryo as a


, of the common parent-form of each great class of


anima


So, thus far I'm still looking for the empirical basis for the great gap that

must exist somewhere, on which we base the great moral gulf we recognize


between human


ife and nonhuman


is true that, despite its similarities


other vertebrates, the developing human embryo


is genetically identifiable as


human.


It is also now known


however


, that humans are strikingly close


n their


genetic makeup to chimpanzees,


as pointed out by Jared Diamond in


haring 98.4% of their DNA with them;


Third Chimpan


n fact,


some taxonomists


are proposing a reclassification


uch that human


and the two chimpanzee


species all share the same


genu


,Homo.


ustrate both the closen


the relationship and the artificiality of the


way we tend to divide up the world








through the action of what he terms the "discontinuou


mind"--the kind of thinking


that propel


us into


esse


ntialism


--Richard Dawkin


enjoins


us to


imagine setting


up a "human chain"


holding hands along the equator


n Africa


the continent on


which humans evolved.


instead of presently living person


however


Dawkins


asks that we


imagine


each person turn


to grasp the hand of her mother


taking


us back


in time a generation at every step.


ancestor we


hare with the chimpanzees


We would meet the


"a surprisingly


common


hort way"--less than


300 miles.


And if a line of chimpanzee ancestors were formed back again


the same way,

sharp discontin


right down to one of the present day, "you

uity"--"daughters would resemble mothers


would nowhere find any

just as much (or as


little) as they always


" and


"mothers would love daughters,


and feel affinity


with them


, just as they always do."40


but the real difference


gap,


"as it were


has to do with


language


and conceptual thought, it may be said.


n Descartes'


view


after all


nonhuman


animals lack


"the rationa


" which must be


"specially created"; their lacking


speech,


while often having the necessary speech-organs,


shows


"not m


erely that


the beasts have less reason than men


, but that they have no reason at a


since


"it patently requires very little reason to be able to speak,


" and a superior


specimen of monkey or parrot should surely be ab


to do so


"if their souls were








not completely different


n nature from ours."41


It must be that the property of


having language or thought is an all-or-none phenomenon sufficient to underwrite

the great moral gulf postulated by the proponents of anthropocentrism.


n this area


, I will grant,


that we probably find many of the results of the


differences made possible by our 1.6% genetic difference from the chimps;


Diamond speaks of our "great leap forward,


with language.42


" and it does have


He details three changes that propelled u


a great deal to do

long the way


toward our present position,


years ago,


assumption of an upright posture at around 4 million


development of a lighter skull and smaller teeth in one line of


Australopithecus,


the line that survived and eventually grew


nto a larger brained


form


, now designated Homo (habilis and then erectus),


by about


2 million years


ago,


and the


increasingly regular use


of stone tools by around the same time.


Even as developed by the Homo sapiens of 500,000 years ago,


who was


efficiently similar to us


n appearance to be classified in our own species,


these


changes did not,


n themselves


result


in the great behavior


advantage


displayed by the first "anatomically fully modern people,


appear around 100-50,000 years ago


Neanderthals living


" the Cro-Magnons, who


n Africa and seem to displace the


n Europe and Western Asia rather abruptly around 40,000


years ago


Diamond identifies the


"great leap forward" with the "magic twist of


behavior" that fo


owed shortly upon dev


elopment of the structure of the


arynx,


41AI. .


r ... -A. ,


"n;srnlrb ira ^an- IhA ji'Aarhr n DinkfI, rnnM.i-;n tlna'


. c c-n i I l "*-p ar'r ^_i t






44

tongue and associated muscles that give us fine control over spoken sounds,"43


allowing the beginnings of complex spoken language to


emerge.


Chimpan


zees,


gorillas and our other primate relatives seem not to be physically capable of


producing anything like the varied vocal sounds we


humans are able to generate.


The advantage of the ability to speak, of rapid,


easy


complex


auditory


communication


n coordinating group behavior, is readily apparent.


And once


this capacity for fine differentiation of sound production arose, thousands of years


remained for the evolution of the natural


accompanied by concomitant evolution


anguages as we know them,


n culture and conceptual thought.


How much of a


"gap"


does the development of


language present within the


over


scheme of things?


Obviously


n some ways,


a very great deal;


in one


respect,


instance


, power wielded in the world per


individual


, a very great deal


ndeed.


Recent ethological studies have gone a


particular "gap,


"however


ong way toward bridging this


Modern equipment to record and analyze the sounds


made by nonhuman animals of a variety of species are revea


ng much more


complexity to anima

decade or two ago,


vocal communication that was eve


r appreciated just a


from birdsong to the songs of the humpbacked whales.


of the best-studied primate species


is the vervet monkey of Africa.


One


The work of


Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth has


hown that vocalizations of vervets are


semantically distinguishable calls referring reliably to objects and events


in the


immediate environment; specific vervet alarm ca


for instance


, are given








looking up or leaving trees to hide in bu


hes at an eagle alarm,


standing up and


looking toward the


ground at a snake alarm call).44


On the


basis of such recent work, much contemporary discu


ssion has been


generated,


not only


n regard to animal


"language"


but nonhuman


"mental"


activity generally


as is being


evaluated in the


emerging field of cognitive


ethology.


The issue of whether or not at least some nonhuman anima


can be


said to have menta


states is a topic that must be reserved for another


discussion


, but it can be said that there exists a growing


literature devoted to


examining the possibility of a


osophy of mind"


for nonhuman


Andrew


Whiten and Richard Byrne,


instance


, have complied reports from over a


hundred primatologists on the observed


ncidence of "tactical deception"


n their


subjects,

another's


such as carefu


y positioning their bodies to be out of the line of


gaze, apparently to conceal an


erection (in chimpanzees) or forbidden


grooming behavior (by a hamadryas baboon),


attention toward a


inhibiting directing one'


certain delicacy until others are out of


visua


ight of it (by a mountain


la) or leading others away from food


n order to return alone to it (in


chimpanzees),


inhibiting copulatory vocalization


(in gelada baboons),


distracting


threatening conspecifics by giving alarm calls and looking as if toward a potential


predator (in guenon


vervets


, and chimpan


zees


and even u


ng one's


fingers


to push one'


lips back over bared teeth,


dominant conspecific (by a chimpan


concealing this

to list a few.45


indication of fear from a


The capacity for








pretense or deceit is taken by Whiten,


Byrne and others as evidence of an


animal's


another


being abl

individual


at least to some extent


, to represent the state of mind of


, and thus to have, not only mental states of its own,


but some


sort of "theory of mind" about another'


classification system of Danie


mental states


Dennett, at least a


consitituting,


"second-order system,


by the

"having


beliefs and desires about things


including beliefs and desires,


its own and


others.4


Some philosophers,


such as Donald Davidson.47 have rejected the notion


that nonhuman


, nonlinguistic animals can have menta


states at all


, but the great


majority of philosophers who attend to


uch questions seem to accept that they


can (at


east mental states, beliefs and desires,


about some things,


such that


they would constitute


"first-order"


intentional system


were they to employ


Dennett'


animals--or


srminology);

, alternative


the list in favor of granting mental states to nonlinguistic


y


denying them to humans no less than to animals--


includes


Tyler Burge,


and Patricia Churchland


Dennett


Fred Dretske


,Jerry


Fodor


Ruth Garrett Millikan


Quine


John Searle


Stephen Stich,


name a few.48


In an essay entitled "Do Anima


Have Be


Stich


ustrates


%See Daniel Dennett


ntentiona


Panglossian Paradigm Defended,"


(Cambridge,


MA: MIT Pres


,1987),


System


n Dennett,


n Cognitive Ethology:


ntentiona


Stance


237-68.


47See Donald Davidson


"Rational Animals


LePore and B.


* a -..* I I S .


e,


I 1


I


I | | I"


I l l








the typical way


n which thinking has divided on the


issue: those in favor of


attributing beliefs to nonlinguistic animals are generally concerned with explaining


behavior


, and find that some sort of belief-desire psychology provides the best


explanation we currently have available,


while those against it basically tend to


be worried about just how we will be able to express the content of what an


anima


believes if we grant that he or she has a belief.49


Granted that coming up


with an adequate account of such content may be difficult (it seems to be,


ndeed


, most taxing even in the case of human beings);


but if we do not attribute


beliefs and desires (or advert to whatever general sort of mechanism we


postulate as obtaining


nonhuman


in human beings),


how are we to explain the behavior of


? Dretske poses the problem quite graphically


n considering what


sort of notion a wolf might have of a lame caribou it is pursuing:


Does the wolf really represent the caribou


caribou?


Sick and


ame


caribou as


sick and lame?


Perhaps the wolf merely represents caribou


as large anima


of some sort.


Or merely a


food.


But the point is that


the wolf has some means of representing comparatively defenseless


caribou--a way of commenting on these creatures that is,


wolfish purposes,


for practical


extensionally equivalent to being a (comparatively)


defenseless caribou--its relentless and unerring pursuit of a comparatively


defenseless caribou


is an absolute mystery.5


Given the anatomica


arities


n the structure of vertebrate nervous


systems,


many seem to agree with Patricia Churchland that "if belief-desire


psychology


an adequate theory for human behavior


then it should be







48

adequate to [explain] lots of nonhuman behavior,"'51 in accord with what has been


termed


"Darwin'


continuity postulate.


Darwin himself put it thus in


The


Descent of Man:


"the difference


n mind between man and the higher anima


great as it is,


certainly is one of degree and not of kind.


Similarity of painfu


pleasurable


experience,


at least within certain broad boundaries


, might also be


umed in accord with such a princip


,though


not attempt to discuss work


that has been done


in thi


area.


On the Far End of Severa


Spectra


reject the existence of a


"gap" between humans and nonhumans even


the realm of mental activity, where,


then


does this leave u


The way


would


put it is this: not separate and "unique"


in our splendid isolation,


but at the far end


of the spectrum when it comes to certain particular traits.


Linguistic ability


no doubt other sorts of cognitive


abilities that could be linked to it


would


constitute one area wherein we are undoubtedly superior to--though not


absolutely separate from


been identified


--most if not al


other beings.


as distinctively human as wel


Other characteristics have


--though again,


n the sense of


being at one side of the


scale


, not abruptly set apart--and,


think,


nstructively


The noteworthy feature identified by Francisco J.


Ayala


that "the ab


ty to


51 Patricia Churchland


"Dennett'


nstrumentalism: A Frog at the Bottom of the


Mug,


"Behaviora


and Brain Sci


ences 3


1983): 359.


52Bernard Werner and


Sa a a a. .


1 .


Susan Landes


, commentary on


"Cognition and


- a a a - r ~ .. I-, U.- ---I -J n-~-ffi-- t.% -~ A I A ~%


A


11- (


~ :


n,_


1


I


- ----


___


LL








perceive the environment,


and to


ntegrate, coordinate,


and react flexibly


(emphasis added) to what is perceived,


has attained its highest development


mankind


hope to talk further about that fl


ability later in this


dissertation.


Darwin


however


made the


judgment that,


"of a


the differences


between man and the lower anima


the moral


sense or conscience


is by far the


most


important"5 6


Darwin traced the moral


sense


to its root


n "the social


instinct"


possessed


by many animals,


of which "sympathy" formed the


"foundation-stone.


With the


development of language,


"the wishes of the community could be expressed,"


serve to guide our actions;


n human


he believed


"the socia


nstincts,


... with the aid of active intellectual

lead to the golden rule.'" Others I-


powers and the effects of habit, naturally


iave viewed the origin of our ethical nature


somewhat similarly;


Hume, for


instance


,recognized a


nkage between mora


and sentiment


abound of


as is noted by Baird Callicott among others.a6


acts in the nonhuman world


Examples


, from the care given by group-


living canids to offspring other than their own to the warning of others about

approaching predators by giving alarm calls at some risk to oneself in a variety of


"Ayala,

6Darwin


"Can Progress be Defined


The Descent of Man


51Ibid.


"altruistic"








species, and notion


of kin and reciprocal altruism are frequently


nvoked to flesh


the explanation of the development of such action


, in other species and also


in our own.


Human


are not


n taking action


that could be broadly


construed as altruistic or "mora


end of the


," though,


pectrum (or then again,


again,


maybe not) ar


n this they may be on the far

nd, to the extent that their


"moral" behavior is guided by language and conceptua


thought, some of it may


be distinctive.


No "Ought" from an


: Humans Make Choi


The ethical decision-making that we humans engage


n as linguistic beings,


however


, involves our making a choice about what to do or not do,


and we can


make choices quite


independently of how things are believed to be according to


a factual description of the world,


including


independently of how we came to be


able to make such choices.


The tim


e-honored "general logical point,


that facts


do not entail evaluation


" sometimes referred to as


"Hume'


recognition of David Hume'


observation of the illegitimacy of attempting to


derive conclusions about the way things ought to be from statements about the


way the world is, without the benefit of additional linking prem


issues


61 may be in


large part responsible for the


difference many philosophers have shown toward


Darwin's


ideas-Wittgenstein,


for instance


, held that "the Darwinian theory has no


more to do with phi


osophy than any other hypothesis of natural science.


James Rachel


however


, one contemporary philosopher who does attempt to


"unique"


Guillotine,"








"take Darwin seriously," particularly


n regard to


implication


his thinking might


have for our ethica


judgments,


finds that Darwinism does bring our culturally


widespread anthropocentrism seriously into question. While an evolutionary view

does not entail that what he calls "the idea of human dignity" (a notion critically


linked to the existence of a wide gap prevailing between human and nonhuman


life) is false,


Rachel


points out that


matters are more complicated [than that]


tied together by connection


other than strict


because our beliefs are often


ogical entailment.


One be


may provide evidence or support for another, without actually entailing it.


evidence accumulates


evidence is called
common pattern.63


one'


nto question,


confidence


one'


in the belief may


increase;


confidence may diminish.


Thi


and as
sis a


Darwinism


on his


view, and on mine,


can be understood as severely


undermining the centra


assumption


of anthropocentrism,


if not logically


entailing their falsity.


The reason why


earlier


natural world is because


abored the point of searching for "gaps"


believe a postulated mora


"gap"


n the


ought to correspond


closely to some factual discontinuity that we can discover scientifically.


to hold a coherent worldview, ideally we should strive to


mora


If we


to it that both our


universe and our empirical conception of the world come as close as


possible to


"carving nature at the joints.


evolutionary story is that what


gaps


A clear message


"there are to be found


read from the

n the biological realm


do not correspond very closely to our presently customary ways of assigning


moral worth--and that the overriding message is that what we find,


overall


is not


. ..


I


J







evolution


, while it may be that we cannot proceed directly from what is to what


ought to be, it would


m that


, if two beings are very similar


for example,


with


respect to morphology,


embryological development,


behavioral respon


environmental stimul


, and a host of other factors


then our mora


orientation


toward them both as potential recipients of the effects of our actions should also


be quite similar


or, alternatively


a well-developed explanation as to why our


orientation should be dissimilar should at least be


n the offing.


Furthermore


conclusion holds at the


evel of the


individual organism for creatures of all


species; evolutionary thinking provides us with no reason to suppose that a


relevant


justification exists for considering human beings as distinct


individuals


but other organism


as merely representatives


of essentialistic


"natural kinds."


At the same time


, again in the


interests of holding a coherent worldview, our


moral judgments should not lead to conclu


ions that would be absurd in the


ecological realm--we should not end up advocating ends that run contrary to


way the world works,


" as will be discussed in upcoming chapters.













CHAPTER


AN EXAMINATION OF CONTEMPORARY
INDIVIDUAL-CENTERED THEORIES


On the basis of the material presented in the preceding chapter


that we must reject anthropocentrism,


conclude


at least any strong version that would


consider humans so differently from other organisms that a substantial


"gap"


between ourselves and other lifeforms could be said effectively to pertain.


do we have any scientific endorsement for the view that individuals are unique


only within the human realm;


if anthropocentrists are to try to make the case for


respecting humans as


individuals but treating nonhuman


only as


representatives of species or population


and not also as


individuals


n their own


right,


they should realize that they may find themselves appealing to Plato rather


than to Darwin for support of this particular asymmetry.


legitimate levels of concern,


There may be other


over and above those focused centrally upon


individual organisms, that become relevant to our considerations about how to


conduct ourselves within the larger environmental realm,


such


considerations as additive or complementary rather than oppositional to an ethic


placing primary concern on the individual organism.


It is hard to


how we


could dispense


with an


ndividual-centered ethic


n favor of something else


entirely within our human sphere of interaction,


and tacking on to our present








runs


same risk of collapsing down into anthropocentrism for all practice


purposes


as the supposedly ecocentric approaches


appear to do.


An individual


centered approach is,


therefore


, taken as ultimately the most promising for


development of an ethically adequate way of dealing with the different sorts of


beings that make up our


environment.


Anthropocentrism is al


too likely to crop


n some form if our ultimate intention


ongoing practices of today's


, acknowledged or not,


societies; certain prevalent pattern


is to justify the


of human


behavior will have to alter


however


if we


are to eliminate the ways


n which we


are negatively affecting nonhumans.


The challenge that wil


be undertaken here


will therefore be to find a system,


not too cumbersome or complicated and


thereby readily accessible to the nonphilosopher


for according appropriate moral


consideration to human and nonhuman


individuals alike


congruence with both evolutionary and ecologica


nights.


, while retaining over


n the search for


a workable ethica


system,


eral of the leading


"extensionist" ethica


theories


will be examined in this chapter


ight of this general goal.


The best-known of the


individual


-centered approaches thu


far taken to


extending moral considerability to nonhumans,


of Peter Singer and Tom


Regan,


have focused on the


institutional pract


that affect domestic anima


most prominently factory farming and laboratory animal research,


and the


discussion


have been predominantly cast


n terms of the harm


to or


offering of








sentient beings.


Con


iderably less, comparatively


has been said by these


philosophers about the suffering of wild nonhuman animals living


"environment," and of what has been said,


in the


most of it has been concerned with


hunting,


trapping or other forms of direct exploitation that can easily be


produce such effects.


However


seen to


, the major process that brings about not only


harm


, suffering and death to many


individual organisms but also results


in the


extinction of entire species


habitat destruction


, understood broadly to


include


degradation and fragmentation of habitats as wel


as their complete devastation,


a process that is estimated to be responsible for at least 67% of actual,


spending or threatened extinction


Two philosophers who have more directly


considered wild creatures to be of mora


concern individually


and who have


addressed environmental


are Pau


issues


Taylor and Robin Attfield,


, including habitat destruction to some degree,


and their ethical frameworks wi


cons


idered here in somewhat greater detail.


Peter Sinaer'


Animal Liberation


Peter


Singer's


utilitarian approach to granting moral con


deration to


nonhuman animals points is presented


in his groundbreaking book, Animal


Liberation.


Singer points to Jeremy Bentham'


rhetoric


question,


"Can they


See


, e.g.


Peter Singer


Animal Liberation


rev. ed.


(New York: Avon Books,


1990),


: "the conclu


of minimizing


ons that are argued for in thi


offering alone";


Practical Ethics


book flow from the princip


,2d ed (Cambridge: Cambridge


University P


(Berkelev:


ress


,1993),


55-61


. Tom Regan,


University of California Press.


The Case for Animal Riahts


1983) presents a more extended







suffer?" as


ndicative of the critical characteristic determining whether or not a


being


should be considered i


n our moral deliberation


In conjunction with the


"principle of equality," elaborated by Bentham

count for one and none for more than one," Si


in his famous


formula


nger finds that


"each to


interests of


every being affected by an action are to be taken


same weight as the


nto account and given the


ke interests of any other being,"4 and hence suffering


should "be counted equally with the


can be made--of any other being.


ke suffering--insofar as rough comparisons


Singer uses the term sentience "as a


convenient if not strictly accurate shorthand for the capacity to suffer and/or


experience enjoyment."'


He also holds that "the capacity for suffering and


enjoyment


is a prerequisite for having interests at all


a condition that must be


satisfied before we can speak of interests in a meaningfu


way."


Singer does


not here attempt to define


"interests


," though he


lustrates his point by comparing


a stone and a mouse with respect to their


"interests"


"not being kicked along


the road":


a stone has no


interests


"because it cannot suffer


"and


"nothing we


could do to it could possibly make any difference to its welfare,


statements could not be made about the mouse.


" whereas such


Since presumably neither


plants nor possibly certain animals have the capacity to suffer


Singer would


3Singer


Animal Liberation


41bid.

51hid








deny that these nonsentient beings can have


be concerned.9


"interests"


He holds that "one way of establishing tl


about which we should

hat an interest is morally


significant is to ask what


is like for the entity affected to have that interest


unsatisfied,"10 and


, in the case of a forest being


mpacted by the building of a


dam


, for example,


he maintains "there is nothing that correspond


to what it is


like to be a tree dying because its roots have been flooded.


As wi


be seen,


he differs from


Taylor and even fellow utilitarian Attfield on this point.


Singer is clear that pleasurable or painfu


position regarding nonhuman animals:


ubjective experiences are key to


"the conclusions that are argued for in


[Animal Liberationi


flow from the princip


of minimizing suffering alone."12


focus on


uch experiences,


with an over


aim of


increasing the total amount of


pleasant experiences


n the world


is central to classic


or hedonistic


utilitarianism


, of which Singer recognizes two versions,


"'total'


view"


and the


"'prior existence' view.


According to the "total" view,


the total amount of


pleasure


n the world may be


increased not only by making the lives of beings


that already exist happy but also by


increasing the number of happy beings there


n the first edition of Anima


Liberation


, Singer stated that a reasonable place


to "draw the line,"
contributing to the


east with respect to tailoring our diets so as not to be


offering of


sentient beings,


might be


"somewhere between a


shrimp and an oyster,


in the revised edition


n being sure that mollusks such as "oysters,


, he acknowledges the difficulty


scallops,


and mussels"


do not feel


pain,


and he observes,


better to do so,"


174.


"since it is


n a footnote


so easy to avoid eating them,


he credits R.


kora for h


now think it
change of


* .








are in the world.


On the


"prior existence" view,


only beings that already exist,


independently of decisions regarding their pleasure,


can be considered.


is at least theoretically possible to cause death without the


nfliction of


Since


offering,


at least the "total"


view of classical utilitarianism cannot find a direct wrong in the


painless taking of a life that results


n a greater overall balance of pleasure over


pain,


ooks to indirect considerations


, such as the suffering of those close to


the victim or the fear and worry that might be produced


subjected to random killings to provide reason


n a human population


for the wrongness of the act.13


Singer acknowledges this fact, using some of the terminology that Tom Regan,


be discussed


The tota


shortly,


finds objectionable:


version of utilitarianism regard


sentient beings as valuable only


n so far as they make possible the existence of


ntrin


ically valuable


experiences


ke pleasure.


is as if sentient beings are receptacles of


something valuable and it does not matter if a receptacle gets broken,


ong as there


is another receptacle to which the contents can be


transferred without any getting spilt.14


He does note, however, that the


because


"metaphor


"experiences like pleasure cannot e


should not be taken too seriously,"

xist independently from a conscious


being,

By the


" and hence such beings cannot be thought of


"prior existence" view,


"merely"


as receptacles.'


taking the life of a being that, on balance,


lead


happy life is wrong


n depriving the world of the amount of pleasurable


experience the continuation of that


ife would yield; on the


"total"


view


however


t









the painless killing of, for example,


nonhuman animals to be consumed for food


would not be wrong if those killed were replaced by more equally happy animals.


However


, Singer distinguishes from both version


of hedonistic utilitarianism


a contrasting view,


"preference"


utilitarianism


which


"judges action


, not by their


tendency to maximise pleasure or minimise pain,


but by the extent to which they


accord with the preferences of any beings affected by the action or its


consequences"; according to preference utilitarianism,


preference of any being is,


"an action contrary to the


unless this preference is outweighed by contrary


preferences,


wrong."16


Preference utilitarianism provides a direct reason for not


taking the lives of certain beings--those that are "rational and


self-conscious"


beings,


which Singer designates as


"persons'


--because these beings


highly future-oriented


n their preferences.


He maintains


"to kill a person is,


therefore, normally, to violate not just one, but a wide range of the most central


gnificant preferences a being can have.


continued existence apparently does not provide a


However


"right to


, the preference for


n any absolute


or inviolable sense


(while Singer


"not convinced" that a "mora


right"


"helpfu


or meaningful" notion,


he does acknowledge it may be "used as a


shorthand way of referring to more fundamental


mora


considerations'


since


he notes that "the wrong done to the person killed is merely one factor to be


taken


nto account


, and the preference


of the victim could sometimes be


* V* a r*








outweighed by the preferences of others.''2


Since beings that are conscious but


self-aware


, sentient beings that are not "person


preferences about their own future existence,


" "cannot have any


"21 preference


utilitarianism


classical utilitarianism


, yields no direct wrong associated with killing them


pain


An animal for which we may have reason to doubt its


self-awareness,


uch as a fish


bring about its death,


, may appear to struggle against whatever forces may ultimately


but such behavior "indicates no more than a preference for


the cessation of a state of affairs that is perceived as painfu


or frightening.


Presumably


on a preference utilitarian view,


satisfaction of these sorts of


preferences will have the same force as the aim of minimizing suffering on a

classical view.


Where do we draw the line betw


een nonhuman


persons" and anima


are merely sentient


Singer notes that "the great apes"


are I


kely to provide "the


clearest


cases


of nonhuman person


and most of his discussion of evidence


for future-regarding preferences


n such nonhuman


centers around experiences


with great apes,


n and out of the wild; Singer has also recently taken part


formulating a declaration recognizing th


great apes as "members of the


community of equa


"for which


"the right to life,


" "the protection of individual


liberty,


"and


"the prohibition of torture"6


are held to apply.24


arger


ist of








nonhuman


"persons" may also include,


however


"whales


, dolphins,


monkeys,


dogs,


cats


, pigs,


seals


bears


cattle


,sheep,


and so on


," and perhaps even


mammals," if we give them the


"benefit of the doubt'


-- much the same set


fact, that is taken in by the


"subjects-of-a-life" central to Regan's


position,


aswi


be discussed


shortly.


n what will be seen as a marked contrast to Regan,


however


, Singer does


not hesitate to assign different degrees of "value" to the lives of different kinds of


animals (though,


it should be noted


, Regan speaks relatively little of those


animals that might not qualify as


"subjects-of-a-life").


Singer asks us to


imagine


being


n a position to compare "what it is


ke" to be different sorts of beings,


example,


a human and a horse:


he maintain


that he believes he can "make


some sense of the idea of choosing from this position," and that


"from this


position,


some forms of life would be seen as preferable to others.


make sense of choosing between forms of life


n this way, then,


If we can


he maintains,


from this


"intersubjective"


stance "we can make


sense of the idea that the


ife of


one kind of animal possesses greater value than the life of another


He thu


denies


"speciesist" to rank the lives of different beings


n a hierarchy of value,


since generally "the more highly developed the conscious


ife of the being,


greater the degree of self-awareness and rationality and the broader the range of


24See Paola Cavalieri and Peter


nger


The Great Ape Project (New York: St.


taQrfin''


D rae e


4 C'Q\


'I








possible experiences, the more one would prefer that kind of


choosing between it and a being at a lower level of awaren


if one were


Singer looks


support


n making this kind of hypothetical choice to John Mill'


comparison


between a pig satisfied and Socrates dissatisfied,


but acknowledges the


objection that Socrates may not really know the pleasures of a pig or a foo


thus not really be judging fairly with awareness of "both sides";


he also notes that


Mill's


example


difficult to reconcile with classical utilitarianism"


because


"it just


does not seem true that the more


intelligent being necessarily has a greater


capacity for happiness," and even if it were found to be true,


"this capacity is less


often filled.


For preference utilitarianism,


we would be confronted with


comparing "different preferences,


held with differing degrees of awaren


f-consciousn


ess"


n attempting to rank the values


of different kinds of lives


task Singer believes


"does not


seem


impossible,


" though he leaves our present


ability to do so an


"open" question.30


With respect to environmental issues,


Singer examines the example of


damming a river to provide energy and economic benefit for humans,


drowning


many plants and anima


, including some rare ones,


n the process.


observes that the amount of suffering experienced by nonhuman animal


being so destroyed


should be


"given no less weight" than an equivalent amount


of human


offering,


and maintain


that "this will significantly increase the weight








of considerations against building the dam."31


Furthermore


since


, if plan


building the dam are given up,


"animals wil


presumably continue to live


n the


valley for thousands of years,


experiencing their own distinctive pleasures and


pain


"utilitarian


will have


to consider


n addition to the anima


offering upon


the flooding of the valley,


"the loss of al


their future existence


and the


experiences that their future lives would have


contained.


Singer observ


however


"one might question whether


ife for animals


n a natural


environment yields a surplus of pleasure over pain,


or of satisfaction over


frustration of preferen


" and he notes that


benefits becomes almost absurd


," though thi


"at this point the idea of calculating


doesn't mean we should leave


uch considerations out of our consideration altogether.33


Singer does recognize


ntrinsic value


possessing it is "good or desirable


n itself


," taken to mean that something

f," as distinguished from being merely of


instrumenta


value," having value


"as a mean


to some other end or purpose.


n considering whether or not the


destruction of the


trees and other vegetation


effected by the flooding of the valley is morally


gnificant,


Singer asks,


once we


abandon the


find value


interests of


sentient creatures as our source of value


He considers the possibility of regarding the


where do we


"flourishing"


of plants


as "good


n itself," but finds that


"we have no way of assessing the relative


31 Ibid.


q9,*- *-.1 S. -r -


A11.








weights to be give


n to the flourishing of different life form


" such as that of an


ancient tree versus a


"tussock of grass.


Moreover


nger maintains that, with


respect to "plants,


rivers


, and guided miss


, it is possible to give


a purely


physical explanation of what is happening,


" and hence


"in the absence of


consciousness


, there is no good reason why we should have greater respect for


the physical processes that gov


those of the nonliving; he


ern the growth and decay of


suggests that positions


ving things" than for


uch as those of Albert


Schweitzer or Pau


Taylor (the latter to be discussed shortly) may be misguided


or at least


"misleading"


n using words normally associated with consciousness,


such as


"seeking"


or "yearning"'


n relation to the activities


of the nonsentient


without making clear that such language is simply


"metaphorical.


With respect


to aggregate entities such as


species or ecosystems,


nger also


indicates that


claim


for their having


"intrinsic value"


are "at best


, problemati


"and he


observes that claim


for the


"equal


intrinsic worth" of of al


organ


isms


n virtue of


being


"part of an


interrelated whole,


as s


suggested by the


"biocentric


egalitarianism"


of Arne Naess or Bill Deval


and George Session


remain to be


demonstrated


since


many


ndividua


h organisms may only be of worth "for


the existence of the whole


," which may


n turn "be of worth only because


supports the existence of conscious beings."'


Singer recognizes, however


ethic that


that an


"would regard every action that


'environmental ethic" is needed,

is harmful to the environment as








ethically dubiou


and those that are unn


ecessa


rily harmful as plainly wrong."39


One concern he identifies as "a new threat to our


human beings

unfortunately,


survival"


"the proliferation of


coupled with the by-products of economic growth,"

"no ethic has yet developed to cope with this threat";


noting that,


ndeed


observes


"some ethica


principles that we do have


are exactly the opposite of


what we need."40

discouraging "lar


standing in


An aspect of the needed environmental ethic wil


ge families," at least on the part of city-dwellers,


"sharp contrast" to ethical beliefs that


include


he maintains,


"are relics of an age


which the earth was far more lightly populated"


cation of the 'total'


and offering "a counterweight to


version of utilitarianism" discussed earlier.41


Tom Reaan'


Case for Animal Riahts


Standing


n contrast to Singer'


utilitarian position,


Tom Regan's


The Case


for Animal Riahts


, a thorough and scholarly development of a rights-based


framework for granting moral consideration to nonhuman animals,


in his


terminology


"borrow[s] part of a phrase from Kant"42


n determining that at least


the sorts of nonhumans that Regan term


must be considered


to have


nherent valu


and on this basi


"must never be treated merely as a


means


to securing the best aggregate consequences.


Defining characteristics


of such


"subjects-of-a-life"


include


, among other things,


having beliefs and


desires


memories and "a sense of the future


, including their own future,


"the


AA -


t-fJ* .- I L ..l51


"subjects-of-a-life"


(L


I J-








capacity for experiencing pleasure and pain,


and both "preference- and welfare-


interests."43


Regan'


notion of


nherent value" holds that it is a kind of value that


certain


individuals have


in themselves


1,44 a value


that is possessed by both


mora


agents and moral patients since Regan believes that efforts to


such


value


to mora


agents alone,


"most notably" by Kant,


are arbitrary.45


Furthermore


the "inherent value"


he postulates is said to be he


"equa


y" by the


beings that possess it.

Regan considers and rejects both utilitarian and perfectionist theories on the


basis of the way in which such theories assign


theories (Regan mention


"inherent value.


both Aristotelian and Nietzschean vari


Perfectionist

eties46) risk a


differential assignment of


nherent value


to the extent that


uch value is


estimated on the basi


"possession of certain virtues


or excellences":


on s


a view


those


individuals with greater artistic talent or intellectual abilities could be


recognized as having more


nherent value than th


lacking


n such


characteristics.


Regan find


uch asymmeties


n valuing


pave


the way" for


a "perfectionist theory of


required to serve


justice :


the needs and


"those with less


interests of th


nherent value


with more


could justly be


even if it is not


interests of those who serve to do


Regan finds this


interpretation of


justice,


along with any mora


theory that could underwrite such an interpretation,


431bid.
44*L.:Si


243.
d-^QC








to be


"unacceptable,


" and rejects the view that'


'mora


agents have


inherent value


n varying degrees."48


Regan also differentiates h


view of


nherent value from what he terms


utilitarian-receptacle view of value.


Paraphrasing


nger


Regan notes that


hedonistic utilitarianism view


both moral agents and moral patients as


"mere


receptacles of what has positive value (pleasure) or negative value (pain).'50


Regan draws the analogy that


individuals


, on this view, are like cups holding


sweet or bitter liquids, with the ultimate aim of hedonistic ut


tarianism being to


achieve


"the best total balance of the sweet over the bitter


" whether or not the


contents are redistributed among the different "cups"


or a given


"cup" is even


destroyed i


n the process.51


As Regan notes,


H. L. A. Hart pointed out that even


preference utilitarianism has the same sort of implication,

be viewed as receptacles for the satisfaction of preference


since


individuals may


just as easily as for


experiences of pleasure or pain.


Regan'


own notion of "inherent value"


is said


to be


"conceptually distinct" from


"the intrinsic value


that attaches to their


experien


," whether of "pleasures or preference satisfaction


"and thus such


value of


individuals cannot be determined


"by totaling the


ntrinsic values


of their


experiences"; "those who have a more pleasant or happier life do not therefore


lIbid.


4Ibid.


236.








have greater


nherent value than those wh


nor do those having


"more 'cu


are less pleasant or happy,"


vated' preferences."''53


Regan takes note of u


litarian Jeremy Bentham'


famous statement of


equa


"each to count for one


no one


sic] for more than one"


as "a breath of


fresh egalitarian air" in contrast to the perfectionist theories.54


He questions,


however


, the grounding of this principle


in the central notion of utility.


According to Regan,


when


nger refers to


basic moral principle of equality,"


Singer's


term


"basic"


must mean either that it


"cannot be derived from any other


moral principle"


or that


"though it


derivable it is of especially crucial moral


importance.


Regan points to a claim made


n Singer's


"Utilitarianism and


Vegetarianism" holding that


"utilitarianism presupposes this principle"57


concludes that Singer seems to align himself with the former alternative, that "the

principle of utility depends on the more basic moral principle of equality.'"58 But,


Regan asserts,


"no consistent utilitarian can believe this


"and


he maintains


the same essay Singer states that

Regan himself finds the second alt


but upon examination declares this appearance


"utility is the sole (moral) basis of morality.


initially to appear "more attractive,"


usory" since the equality or


Regan,


The Case for Animal Riahts


235-36.


541bid.


235.








nequality of two


individuals'


interests would then depend upon how the


interests


of others (other than the two particular


individuals


n question) would be affected,


uch that the same


interests might be


"regarded as equal at one time and


unequa


at another


"a result that is


n effect


"to make a


hambles of the


notion


of equality as it applies to interests."'6


Regan'


conclusion is that


"the equality


principle,


" viewed as a moral principle,


"can find no home within utilitarianism."''61


Regan's


position holds that


individual mora


agents themselves have


distinctive kind of value


, according to the postulate of


nherent value," but, as he


puts it,


n contradistinction to the utilitarian view,


the cup,


ust what goes


into it


that'


valuable.


Regan recognizes a


"principle of respect for


individual


that holds


"We are to treat those


individuals who have inherent value


n ways that


respect their


nherent value.


negative


implication of what respect for such


inherent value requires


is that


individual


"must never be treated merely


a means


to securing the best aggregate consequences,"64


n other words


ow harm to befall certain such


individuals


n order to


increase the tota


sum of


pleasure or preference satisfaction across all


individuals.


also carries the


positive


implication that we have a


"prima facie duty to assist those who are the


victim


justice at the hands of others.


Harms, for Regan,


can take the


6"Ibid.


214.


61Ibid.


.'. '..


_ _








form of deprivations of "opportun


ies for satisfaction" as well of experien


pain and suffering,


and can thus


include being kept under


"unnatura


condition


as we


as painl


death.


Unlike the many utilitarian


(though not Mill,


noted) who are critical


of the notion of moral rights,


Regan accepts the idea that


moral rights are va


d claims;


n the


case


individuals with


inherent value


,they


are valid claim


to respectfu


treatment as outlined above.


If harm to


innocent


rights-holders is unavoidable, however


Regan recognizes two principles that can


nvoked to help with our decision-making: the


"miniride princip


" holding that,


when harms are prima facie comparable,


ought to choose to override the


rights of the few


n preference to overriding the rights of the many,


and the


'worse-off principle," which holds that "when the harm faced by the few would

make them worse-off than any of the many would be if any other option were


chosen


, then we ought to override the rights of the many."'6


On th


basis,


Regan


ustifies our assumed


"prereflective


ntuition" that


n a case where one of


survivors


four human


and a dog,


must be pu


out of a


ifeboat


, it is the dog


that must go.

prima facie ri


While al


survivors have equal


'ght not to be harmed,


" Regan maintain


nherent value and


"an equal


that the harm of death


"is a


function of the opportunities for satisfaction it forecloses,


" and "no reasonable


person would deny"


that the


death of a human brings about a greater such loss


and thereby a greater harm than death for a dog.69


Furthermore


since


nfl,- -t -hA


nnr~i-








aggregativee consideration


" are to be rejected, on Regan'


rights view even a


lion dogs should be thrown overboard" i


n order to save four human


The focu


of Regan'


"case for animal rights


" is not on environmental


issues,


but Regan does address such matters briefly

and Possibility of an Environmental Ethic," he


n an early essay


rejects the


"The Nature


limitation of mora


considerability to those beings with sentience,

environmental ethic must recognize not only tl


finding that an adequate


iat "there are nonhuman beings


that have moral standing"1


but that the class of such beings


"includes but is larger


than the class of conscious beings";71


in this essay he also implies that what


needed


is a way of recognizing "inherent value"


in natural objects


and that the


class of beings possessing it


should not necessarily be limited to"


ving


being


The Case for Anima


Riahts


, he makes it clear that, while his


position is supportive of efforts to save endangered species,


the reason


underlying such efforts is


the individual


"not because


animals have valid claim


species is endangered but because


," one example of which is a claim


"against those who would destroy their natural


habitat";


he maintain


that,


"on the


rights view,


the same principles apply to the moral assessment of rare or


endangered animals as apply to those that are plentifu


, and the same principles


70Ibid.


of Anima


and Regan's


, 325; see Peter


nger'


criticism of Regan on th


Liberation," The New York Review of Books (1


reply and


nger'


rejoinder


"The Dog


point


"Ten Years


January 1985):


48-50


n the Lifeboat: An


FYChann TheF New Ynrk RaPviw nf Rnnkc


I. t


Anril 1 QARY !7._K








apply whether the animals


n question are wild or domesticated."


Regan rejects


the notion that "the


individual may be sacrificed for the greater biotic good,"


dubbing this sort of holistic view environmental a


fascism."'


since


"it denies the


propriety of deciding what


should be don


individuals who have


rights by


appeal to aggregative consideration


His view "does not deny the possibility


that collection


or system


of natural objects might have


inherent value,


" though


he find


it "unclear"


how the notion of rights might be applied with respect to such


objects; an extension of his rights approach to "individual


nanimate [sic] natural


objects"


such as redwood trees


however


"remains a


ive option" that "merits


continued exploration."


At the


end of this discussion


he asks


as noted earlier


"were we to


how proper respect for the rights of the


ndividua


who make up the


biotic community


would not the community be preserved?'


Tavlor'


Respect for Nature


A philosopher who contrasts with both Singer and Regan


n considering at


great length the proper moral stance to be taken with respect to environmental


issues and entit


Taylor


. Taylor'


position,


as presented


in his book


Respect for Nature:


A Theory of Environmental Ethics


, is a rather intricately


interconnected system that is


and Regan,


Regan,


easily


but a condensation of his v


takes a deontologica


ummarized than the views of


ews will be attempted here.


approach toward nonhuman nature,


nger


Taylor


holding that,


7 A- a a -


7-a-


__








"in addition to and


independently of" the duties we may have to each other as


human beings,


own right."


inherent worth


'"we also have duties that are owed to wild living things


He grounds these duties


"a kind of value


n their


"their status as entities possessing


"that makes it wrong to treat them as if they


existed as mere means to human


ends."78


Taylor recognizes two system


ethics


, "human ethics," governing the relations between human beings,


"environmental ethics


" "concerned with the moral relation


that hold between


human


and the natural world."


Like


nger


Taylor uses the word "person"


in a very specific way


but, as


befitting his


different ethical framework, his definition of "person"


somewhat different: a person is


"a center of autonomou


is also


choice and valuation,"


able not only to con


ceive of itself and its future


ife but to choose that


ife on the


basis of a value system,


also self-chosen


, characterized by certain rules and


standards.s"


Taylor


eaves


"open" the question as to whether some nonhuman


may also be considered


person


"by his definition,


allowing that


"some level


personhood" may be attained by "chimpan


zees


, monkey


, gorillas,


and other


primates,


"and possibly also by "dolphin


and whales"


and even perhaps


extraterrestria


beings,


but his position is not dependent upon any nonhuman


animals being recognized as


person


Taylor


Respect for Nature:


rr .:...a.-.a i ia.:. :A .- .. ..


A Theory of Environmenta


rl nn~\


Ift I.*








For such person


, a system of "human ethics"


held to apply


which


to be a


"valid normative ethical system," satisfies


uch widely accepted


"formal


condition


" as having rules general


n form and applicable universally and


disinterestedly to all moral agents;


t also satisfies


"material condition" that he


term


"respect for person


n order for all moral agents to be willing to adopt


the norms of such an ethical

each person to choose and


system, t

ive by his


hose norm


must respect the autonomy of


or her own value system,


as befits the


definition of a person. A vw

standards that embody the


alid ethical system thus is "a set of moral ru


princiD


of respect for all persons as persons."82


Following this


"principle of respect" entails


uch action


as recognizing the


personhood of others as


"having a worth or value


n itself," seeing other person


"as one


sees


oneself


," and allowing others "to pursue their true good as they


conceive


principle


of it."


To allow others to develop their capacities as persons,


mposes rules against killing or harming persons,


making resources


available to meet their needs, leaving them free from interference with their


pursuit of their own goods, and "i

"defining a social order" in which


rules of fidelity


uch person


nondeception,


and reciprocity,"


can develop and the


"attitude of


respect"


can thrive.83


Taylor's


schema for human ethics is thus made up of three


nterdependent components,


the set of ru


"the belief-system,


the ultimate mora


and standards,"84 such that acceptance of the


conception of other


04








moral agents as persons


eads to the attitude of "respect for person


" which


turn generates the norm


that foster a community


n which person


can manifest


their


individual autonomy.


Having outlined a


"valid system"


of human ethics


, Taylor constructs his


system of "environmental eth


cs" on an analogou


tripartite plan.


Whereas


the system of human ethics,


perceiving others


as persons entails recognizing


them as autonomous beings with respect to their capacity for making choices,


the belief system that undergirds


Taylor'


environmental ethics is


"the biocentric


outlook on nature


"which entails


, among other things,


perceiving each


individual


living organism as


good in


"a teleologica


its own unique way


understanding one's


(goal-oriented) center of life,


pursuing its own


Other aspects of the biocentric outlook


self as a member of "th


Earth'


include


Community of Life,"


"providing a common bond with all the


different species of animals and plants


that have


evolved over the age


," and rejecting


"the


dea of human


uperiority


over other living things.


"The biocentric outlook precludes a hierarchical view of


nature

to the


," Taylor tells us,


and to accept such a belief


principle of species-impartiality.''86


stem is "to commit oneself


The "biocentric outlook"


is what leads a


moral agent to adopt "the


attitude of respect for nature," a disposition "to give


equal con


ideration to all wild


iving things and to judge the good of each to be


worthy of being preserved and protected


as an end in


itself and this in turn


I








leads to acceptance of a set of moral norm


governing our conduct in regard to


the natural world that is consistent with such an attitude.87

A key distinction for Taylor is that between entities "having a good of their


own" and those that do not. One way to distinguish the two,


nform


whether it makes sense to speak of what is good or bad for the thing


question,


" without needing to refer to the good of any other entity; if it does make


sense to do so


, then that entity has a good of its own.88


Taylor distinguishes


"having a good of its own" from


"having


interests"


n the sense


of having ends


and seeking means to achieve" those


ends;" consciousness,


subjective


experiences,


desires and satisfaction


are not necessary for having a good of


one's


own


, though the capacity for


"being benefited or harmed" is."9 Taylor notes


that one can always question whether such "subjective value concepts"


applicable to nonhuman organism


, but the notion of having a good of one'


own


constitutes an


"objective value concept,


" and it is this sort of concept, applicable


to nonsentient as well as sentient anima


and also to plants,


is central to his


theory.91


teleologica


"All organism


centers of life


" he maintain


n the


"whether conscious


sense that each is a unified


or not


, coherently ordered


system of goal-oriented activities that has a constant tendency to protect and


871bid.
ftIL E I


-j








maintain


" its own existence.92


promote an organism'


good


Taylor term


judging what things will or will not


"taking the standpoint of' that organism;


learning


"how the organism develops,


grow


and sustains its


ife according to the


its species-specific nature" w


be necessary if one is to do an adequate


ob of


taking its standpoint and determining


its good.


Only


individual organism


have


uch goods of their own,


but Taylor recognizes the possibility of speaking


"statistically"


of "furthering the good of a whole species-population"


or of an entire


"biotic community," though such a good "can only be realized in the good lives of


ts individual members";


he observes


that such goods may be distinct,


since


"what harm


individual


" such as a member of a prey species being eaten by


a predator


, "may not harm but actually benefit the community."94


Taylor utilizes the term


"inherent worth" to indicate "the fundamental value-


presupposition of the attitude of respect,


" a property postulated both for persons


(without which


person


"we w


") and for nonhuman


not have respect for them simply


iving things.


n virtue of their being


distinguishes this term from


"instrumental value" and from the


term


intrinsic value


"which he u


to refer


to the kind of value found in a


ubjective


experience enjoyable in


itself without


regard for any possible consequences


that might follow from it,


and "inherent


value


," the value attributed to works of art, historical sites and the like which are


valued by people as the things they are without regard to their usefulness or


nlir -.


__








market price.


In contrast


"inherent worth"


applies only to


entities having a good


of their own


, and is possessed by them


independently of a human valuer


implications of being said to possess


inherent worth


include being considered a


moral subject "to whom duties are owed


," on an equal footing with all other moral


subjects; not to be treated "as a mere mean


to someone


se's ends":


and to


have


one'


own good protected and promoted


as an u


mate


"and


"as a


matter of moral principle.


Taylor maintain


worth is established for persons


that the possession of inherent


showing that only this


way of reaardina


persons is coherent with the conception of every person as a rational.


valuina


beinq--an autonomous center of conscious life


," and he hopes to establish its


possession by nonhumans


showing that only this way of regarding them is


coherent with how we must understand them when we accept the be


ef-svstem


of the


biocentric outlook on nature."'9


Taylor


identifies four "core" beliefs making up the biocentric outlook:


(a) The belief that human


are members of the Earth'


the same sense and on the same term


members of that community.


Community of Life


n which other living things are


(b) The


belief that the human species,


along with all other


pecies, are


integral elements
each living thing,


n a system of i


as wel


nterdependence such that the survival


as its chan


not only by the physical condition
to other living things.


of faring we


or poorly


of its environment but also by


is determined


ts relations


c) The belief that all organism


that each i
(d) The be


s a unique


ndividua


ef that humans are not


are teleologica


pursuing


centers of


its own good


nherently


ife in the sense


in its own way


superior to other


ving things.


Ibid.


72-7


* | I k .


-a-


__ _


=


"1'-1


IC i* *


I


.7"I i1, 1 "-7 '


7








Taylor maintains that moral agents "will find th


beliefs acceptable


to the


extent that they are "rationa


, factually


informed


, and have developed a high


of real


y-awareness";


100 among other things,


he points to our common


evolutionary origin and our common ecological situatedn


supporting the adoption of


as considerations


uch beliefs.


Taylor acknowledges that acceptance of the biocentric outlook entails a


"radica


change


n our view"


of our relation


with the natural world


and he


recognizes that the fourth core belief


denia


of human superiority


key" to


realizing why this outlook


eads to taking the stance of


"respect for nature.


showing why we should deny the notion of human superiority


Taylor considers


and rejects three "historical"


arguments


in favor of human superiority


the Greek


essen

Being,


tialist view


, the traditional JudaeoChristian idea of the Great Chain of


and the dualism of Descartes


for reasons that cannot be considered


detai


here.


He also rejects one


"contemporary"


argument,


offered by Louis G.


Lombardi


, holding that


"although animals and plants have


some


inherent worth


they have less worth than human


A large part of Lombardi's


on the point that "the greater the range of an entity'


capacities,


argument turns


the higher the


degree of its


than nonhumans


nherent worth


" and human


, thus have greater


nherE


, having "a greater range of capacity

ent worth. Taylor acknowledges the


likelihood that the human range of capacities probably is the greatest,


replies that it


not capacities themselves


that establish the ground of the








nherent worth of organisms,


but rather "the fact that those capacities are


organized in a certain way


" that


"they are


nterrelated functionally so that the


organism as a whole can be said to have


a good of


ts own


, which it is seeking to


realize."103


Lombardi


also appeals to the


idea that human


have capacities that


make it possible for them to be mora


agents,


and as such only they have


"rights";


Taylor agrees that nonhuman


at least a


those not construed as


persons,


"do not, strictly speaking,


have "rights," since '"what it means" to have


"rights,


" and thu


to be able to


"press claim


against others and demand that the


legitimacy of those claim


be acknowledged is simply


compatible with what it


means to be an anima


or a plant."'"1


Taylor finds Lombardi'


argument


"illegitimately moves" from considering


"rights"


overriding all other sorts of claims


within


"a system of human ethics" to what Taylor


sees


as a separate but parallel


ethica


system


n which


"rights" play no role.105


Taylor concludes this "(

also failed to make its case


contemporary "


argument for human


, in light of the


uperiority has


"groundlessness" of the claim of


human superiority taken


n combination with the acceptance of the


"first three


elements of the biocentric outlook," he


asserts


its denial.'"1


is within the


framework of this conceptual system that the idea of human


uperiority


found


103lbid.


148.


Ibid.


Taylor doe


however


hat a


"modified concept of mora


rights"


could make


it conceivable for nonhuman anima


and plants to possess


*


a a a a a A - A ----- A- A -1 t C I- - -I I- --


*J


IL. -- ._ L -- --


dL Lll A Ii b A I+ |








to be unreasonable," he tel


and furthermore


, the rejection of this


idea


"entai


its positive counterpart: the principle of


pecies-impartiality," holding that


"every species counts as having the same value


in the sense


, regardless of


what


equa


species a living thing belongs to,


it is deemed to be prima facie deserving of


concern and consideration on the part of moral agents."107


"principle


of species-impartiality" thus mean


that every entity having a good of its own


should be regarded as possessing


"the same


nherent worth." and treated as


uch.


It is thu


"through the denial of human superiority (and of the superiority of


any other species) along with the correlative affirmation of the princip


species-impartiality


," Taylor concludes,


"that the


biocentric outlook


nked to the


attitude of respect for nature."108


The


"system of standards and ru


that follows from the attitude of respect


for nature includes four


"rules of duty": the


"Rule of Nonmaleficence


," a duty not


to harm any natural


entity having a good of its own;


the "Rule of


Noninterference


," both prohibiting restriction of the freedom of individual


organisms and also


"requiring a genera


'hands off' policy with regard to whole


ecosystem


and biotic communities"


as well; the


"Rule of Fid


" which forbids


breaking


"a trust that a wild anima


aces


n us


"such as the


"deception with


intent to harm"


involved


n a hunter carefully stalking his prey or a trapper


concealing h


traps; and


Rule of Restitutive


Justice


" which


"imposes the


duty to restore the balance


of justice between a moral agent and a moral subject






82
acts of reparation as setting up additional nature preserves if an entire species-


population or ecosystem has been damaged.'9


Taylor notes that, as consumers


who have benefited from the economic and technological features of our society


that have


n many


cases


inflicted great harm on nonhuman


"all of u


who live


modern industrialized societies owe a duty of restitutive justice to the natural


world and its wild


inhabitants.


"110


Since


, as he recognizes,


n practice these ru


may at times conflict with one another


, Taylor draws up a set of "priority


principles"


as a guide indicating


"the relative precedence"


of duties, resulting in


udgements as a


owing a moral agent to break the "Rule of Fidelity"''


in order


some animals from a park if their


harm to themselves and the rest of the ecosystem,


"overabundance" would result in


which would otherwise


constitute a break with the


"Rule of Nonmaleficence."' 11


Taylor also discusses


virtuu


es" or character traits that "make it possible for a moral agent to regularly


comply with the four ru


Taylor devotes the final chapter of his book to examining


"competing claims"


between human


interests and nonhuman


interests.


notes that


for thi


discussion


hew


use the term


"interests"


"to refer to whatever objects or events


serve to preserve or protect to some degree or other the good of a living thing,"


with no


implication of conscious desiring or experiencing being linked to the word


109DiL:


to "remove"


,41








"interest."11


Taylor distinguishes "basic" from "nonbasic"


interests


, holding that


"one


interest


of greater


importance than another to the


extent that the


nonfulfi


ment


of the first will constitute a more serious


deprivation or loss than the


nonfulfillment of the second


" with the


"most important interests" being "those


whose fulfillment is needed by an organism if it is to remain alive."114


Since we


"take the standpoint" of nonhuman


seriously they would be harmed"


of humans


, we can generally estimate


if certain interests were not fulfilled.


, Taylor defines "basic interests"


enlightened people would value as an


esse


"how


n the case


as "what rational and factually

ntial part of their very existence as


persons


":such


interests will be those they "have a right to have fulfilled."


Nonbasic human


interests


on the other hand


, are "the particular ends we


consider worth

make up our in


king and the mean


idividua


value systems."


we consider best for achieving them that


"The nonbasic interests of humans thu


vary from person to person," Taylor tells u


"while their basic interests are


common to all."'


Having thus distinguished basic and nonbasic


interests


, Taylor proposes five


principles for resolving competing claims among human and nonhuman,


and nonbasic


basic


interests:


The principle of


self-defense.


b. The principle of proportionality.
c. The principle of minimum wrong.
d. The principle of distributive justice.
e. The principle of restitutive justice.1


a a -.








Taylor recognizes that,


"in order to


hare the Earth with other species,


human


must


mpose limits on our population,


our habits of con


umption,


our technology."''117


However


, "we may regard al


wild animals and plants as


possessing inherent worth, yet still believe that we are


entitled to pursue our


interests


n the advancement


of knowledge,


creation and appreciation of the


, and many other aspects of civ


ized life


," and also that each person has the


right to exercise


interest


individual autonomy


, therefore, are inevitable.118


n choosing the way to live; conflicts of


The above-listed principles are thu


designed to help in making judgements among these inevitable conflicts.


first principle,


that of "self-defense


," applies against "harmful


and dangerous


organism


" those "whose activities threaten the life or basic health" of moral


agents;


it genera


y holds that mora


agents may cause harm to other beings if


there


is no other alternative for protecting their own


"basic


interests "


The


other four principles


apply


cases


ere the


nonhumans under consideration


are not potentially harmful to moral agents.


cases


ere nonbasic


interests of


human


"which are


ntrinsica


ncompatible with the attitude of respect for


nature"


are i


n conflict with the basic interests of "harmless"


nonhumans


, including


uch activities as hunting and fishing for pleasure,


wildflowers


private collecting of rare


, capturing birds or reptiles for commercial trade and the like,


"principle of proportionality"


basic than to nonbasic


applies,


interests


holding that


"greater weight is to be given to


, no matter what species" is


under consideration:


" "we








the principle therefore


"prohibits us from allowing nonbasic


interests to override


basic ones,"


and we must find


uch practices "wrong."121


cases


where the


human


interests that conflict with those of nonhuman


are "not intrin


ically


compatible with respect for nature,


" on the


other hand


but "the


human


interests


involved are so


important that rational and factually informed people who have


genuine respect for nature are not willing to relinquish the pursuit of those


interests even when they take


nto account the undesirable consequen


wildlife


," the "princip


of minimum wrong"


applies, holding that


"it is permissible"


for mora


agents


"to pursue those values


only so long as doing so involves fewer


wrongs (violation


of duty) than any alternative way of pursuing those values."'22


Examples of such


interests that are not


ntrinsically


compatible" with but that


incidentally take a toll on nonhuman


interests


include destroying natural habitat


for the construction of an art museum


, damming a river to provide hydroelectric


power


"landscaping a natural


woodland to make a public park."123


considering the coherence of this principle with his notion of nonhumans


possessing equal


nherent worth


, Taylor contrasts the "utilitarian calculation of


consequences


" with


"a deontological or nonconsequential view of minimizing


wrongdoings,


" finding that harming


seve


ral beings of


inherent worth


"is not


merely to bring about a certain amount of


intrinsic disvalue


in the


world


to be


balanced against whatever value


might also be produced," but rather


"is to


- I,


1201i.;.4








commit a number of violation


of duty


corresponding to the number of creatures


harmed."124


It is "the number of


cases"


of wrongs rather than


"the aggregate


amount of disvalue" that makes up the

"principle of minimum wrong," and this


in turn is the reason wh


underlying the

y "it is worse to


harm a species-population than an individual organism,


biotic community as a whole"


and still worse to harm a


"we cannot do harm to a species-population," or a


biotic community, "without doing harm to a great many of the organisms that

make up the population."125


Since Taylor seems to be accepting that wrongs wi


be done in cases such


as those illustrated by this latter set of examples, he notes that "even though we


may have acted


n accordance with the principle of minimum wrong,


east


some creatures possessing inherent worth equal to our own have been unjustly


treated


," and consequently a "principle of resitutive


justice"


is needed to help


restore "the balance of justice between ourselves and them";


be made by restoring or "setting aside certain natural habitats,


restitution may


" with the amount


of compensation required to be made proportional to the amount of harm done,


and the compensation chosen to


center around biotic communities rather than


individual organism


because


"this is the most effective mean


for furthering the


good of the greatest number of organism


Though


Taylor here appears to


be resigning himself to the fact that there will be inexorably continued destruction


194A..


"central consideration"


AA








of natural creatures and habitats by human


, and hence a perpetual need for


restitutivee justice," it is


unclear to what exten


he thinks we human


will be able


to even the tally sheets;


an otherwise


as one example of his


relatively restrained treatise,


"misanthropy" to be found within

instance, while observing the


asymmetry between our ecological dependence


on other beings and their


ack of


dependence on u


, he remarks that


"it seem


quite clear that


n the


contemporary world the extinction of the species Homo sapiens would be


beneficial to the Earth'


Community of Life as a whole,


"and


, if that Community


could express its true fee


most


"the ending of the human epoch on Earth would


kely be greeted with a hearty 'Good riddance!"'128


Taylor's


fourth principle,


that of "distributive justice,


"arises out of conflicts


between basic


interests of humans and nonhumans, and also generally requires


restitutive justice as wel


, since justice would require equal shares of whatever


good is available be allotted to each


individual of equal


nherent worth


and we


"cannot guarantee perfect equality of treatment" to each of them; a

gives "arises from the necessity of humans to consume nonhuman


in example he


as food."


decides that


"it is morally permit


sible" for humans


, living


n environmental


conditions where plants cannot readily be grown for food,


such as the Arctic


and consume wild animals if


, in refraining from doing so,


"they would


n effect


be sacrificing their


ves for the sake of the animals


," a judgment that follows from


"the equa


ty of worth" between their lives.








Under other condition


, Taylor maintains that,


"even if no greater wrong


committed


n eating animals than in eating plants," "the factor of animal suffering


does raise important con


derations"


n that "such a being'


good is not fully


realized when it is caused to suffer


n ways that are not contributory to its over


well-being,


" and thus


"it will be less wrong to kil


plants if animals are made to


suffer when they are taken for food."'13


The "main point," however


in favor of


vegetarianism from the standpoint of environmental


ethics is that vegetarian


require a


mailer


"amount of arable land"


be used to meet their needs


less human


for themselves the more there is for other species."131


n this and other cases of conflict


n basic interests


then


, Taylor finds that


human


"make certain adjustments"


n their relationship with the natural


world to better serve the requirements of distributive justice.


He offers four


"methods" for doing so,


conse


including "permanent habitat allocation";


rvation," an expansion of a


"common


"human practice of sharing the use of a


resource with others";


and artifacts


integration,


"environmental


"the fitting of human buildings


nto the landscape so as to minimize ecologica


disturbance; and


"rotation," allowing human activities to occur


n certain areas only on a time-


limited basis


, taking turn


" with allowing nonhuman


exclusive access


example being permitting only limited mining of an area,


restoration of the natural ecosystem.132


to be followed by


Taylor concludes the outline of his


schema by noting that


"there will always be some


cases


of conflict in which the








thing to do is undecidable,


" and suggesting that we settle these


"by referring


to our total picture or vision of what kind of world order would be idea


to the structure of normative principles we have accepted,


according


deal he describes


as "a world order on our planet where human civ


zation


brought


nto harmony


with nature.


Robin Attfi


Ethics of Environmenta


Concern


n addition to


Taylor'


system,


one more approach to an


ndividual-centered


environmental ethic remain


to be considered


that of Robin Attfield.


As a fellow


utilitarian


Attfield'


framework resembles that of Peter Singer


in some ways,


there are differences of focu


be taken from Attfield'


as well as of substance.


latest comprehensive work,


Most of this summary will


A Theory of Value and


Obligation


with certain sections supplemented by The Eth


cs of Environmenta


Concern and other works.


A central concept for Attfi


that of


ntrin


c value


" which he differentiates


from


instrumental


value as being


"what is of value


n itself.


The kinds of


thing


that are said to be of


ntrin


ic value"


"are not objects, people or other


creatures


, but experiences,


activities and the development of capacities; or


more


generally,


states of affairs."'1


valuable in and of them


Attfield claims that such states of affairs that are


selves


upply a reason for action which is


independent of other desirab


end-states or values


" and thu


"will be ones








which there are nonderivative


reasons for fostering, desiring, or cherishing";


there


is said to be "a necessary connection between


intrinsic value and reasons for


He bolsters this view by referring to the point made by Kenneth


Goodpaster

concerning'


be objectivist,


with whom he


centrality


cognitivist,


generally agrees as to the

n morality of beneficence."


and natural


proper objects of morality


Since Attfield purports to


as well as consequentialist with respect


to metaethical matters, he construes


ntrinsic value as


"an objective property,"


something that can be


ntersubjectively known.


On hi


definition of


ntrinsic value


it can be seen that what Attfield calls


constituency of morality" takes


n more than just


sentient being


,since he agrees


with


Taylor (and others) that a nonsentient


giving creature can be said to have "a


good of its own" and


"can flourish after


ts own kind."'"39 Unless morality's


domain


is construed more broadly


he bel


ieves


it run


the risk of falling


nto an


"elitism of


sentient,"


of simply setting up


"another equally


irrelevant


equivalent to


the customary break between human and nonhuman.14i


n his famous essay


"The


Good of Trees," arguing against Joe


whether trees could be said to have


Feinberg's


interests"


expressed doubts as to


or "a good of their own,


" since


25-26.


see


also


Robin Attfi


Ethics


of Environmental Concern,


2d ed.


(Athens:


University of Georgia Pres


,1983),


141.


"the


action."








such concepts are commonly linked to the possession of conscious aims or


desires


Attfield maintains


latent tendencies


seem


, direction of growth and natural


, as Feinberg himself apparently


suggests, suffici


nent do jointly
ent conditions of


having


interests.


subsequent conclusions,


;] does,
that all


however
individual


, imply,
I anima


contrary to Feinberg'
s and plants have


interests.


For a


have


atent tendencies


at some time or other


have a


direction of growth,


and a


can flourish after their natural kind.


Attfield traces the position he takes against Feinberg to


"the Aristotelian principle


that the good


ife for a living organism turn


on the fulfilment of its nature," a view


he notes has also been adopted recently by Stephen Clark.


According to


Attfield


"a creature's


interests consist


mply


n the ways in which it can be


benefited or can avoid harm; the use


of 'interests'


n no way


mplies the presence


of desires


or even of awareness."''43


Determination of what is "the good of the


creature


"furthermore


, can be through "impersona


or interpersonal talk," with


such judgements


n themselves being '"nonmoral'


udgments.


"144


Attfield notes


"we count the sentience of creatures as a


efficient condition of their having


moral standing,"145 and he arrives

nonsentient beings by drawing "ar


at the "moral standing"


of trees and other


analogies between the flourishing of


sentient and


of other creatures," coup


ng th


"together with


the belief that there is


'41Attfield,
;., People,.


"The Good of Trees


Penauin


and Pla


," in Donald VanDeVeer and Christine Pierce,


Tree


(Belmont,


Wadsworth Publishing


Company


1986),


14 '21 i*- -i








something of value in the


ives of the former."''"


"Many capacities are


hared."


Attfield maintain


, "by trees and by


sentient organism


(respiration,


ngestion,


growth,


self-maintenance


, reproduction),


and if the flourishing of the sentient is of


value


, it is hard to deny that the flourishing of trees is of value also."147


to reinforce this position by the


ions"


, in a series of thought experiments,


He claims


many people express to the effect


worlds exhibiting nonsentient


ife are


found preferable to those that are lifeless,


and the cutting down of a tree by the


"last man" on such a nonsentient world


, even though said tree wi


never again be


appreciated by any sentient creature,


is found to be wrong.1'


Flourishing,


something done not


n Atffield's


Aristotelian sense,


"as such" but


"is a species-dependent notion,"


"as a member of one's


species or natural


kind";


involves


"developing or having developed all or at


east most of the


essential


capacities of that species or kind,


to the point of the ability to exercise


them."149


Such


essentiala


capacities,


" he notes


, contra Aristotle, need not be


distinctive capacities,


but can


include the capacities that all living things share,


on the analogy above.15


He also observes


contra


artre


Oakeshott and


others


, that human beings can


ndeed


ike other lifeforms


, be said to possess


essentiala


capacities"


such capacities would include such things as the capacity


1461bid.

1l7bid.








"linguistic communication," "the capacity for autonomous choice,


capacity


"meangingfu


work," as maintained by Marx,


as well as capacities for reasoning


and memory,


sensory capacities


uch as v


ision


and the


hared capacities


common to a


form


of life.151


Attfield claim


"what


central


ntrin


ic value


. I


the ab


ty to


rcise various powers" or


as he otherwise puts it,


to develop th


essential


capacities. 152


Life itself


he holds


is not


itself of intrinsic value


but rather a


precondition of what is of such value,


as are "the necessities which


ustain it."


His system thu


places key


emphasis on needs,


"where needs are understood as


whatever is necessary for a human to


ve and to live we


as a human


or for a


member of another species to live wel


"the connection between needs and value


as a member of that species"; therefore,


, though not always a direct one,


strong and crucial."


Basic needs,


moreover


which


for the human


include


such


survivala


-related need


"food


, clothing and


and also such things


as autonomy


needed for a human to live


well,


are said to form a


"crucial subset"


of "things which it


rationa


to want


whatever is wanted.


",154


Health is said to be


both


"a contingent need" and also


intrinsic value":


"pleasure and


enjoyment


are of intrinsic value


activity


," pleasure consisting


performed for their own sake,


"not only in sensations but also in


" with "pleasures as pleasures"


151lbid.


42-47.


1 MCI. .


shelter"