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UI 429 Environmental Ethics

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UI 429 Environmental Ethics H. Hamner Hill, Philosophy and Religion Introduce Myself & the Course Provide an overview of Environmental Ethics and Ethical Theory ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: UI 429 Environmental Ethics


1
UI 429Environmental Ethics
  • H. Hamner Hill, Philosophy and Religion
  • Introduce Myself the Course
  • Provide an overview of Environmental Ethics and
    Ethical Theory

2
Topics of Discussion
  • Website cstl-cla.semo.edu/hill/ui429
  • Nature and details of the course
  • Why we need a course in environmental ethics
  • Overview of Ethical Theory

3
Nature of the Course
  • This is a lecture/Discussion course. The
    emphasis is on discussion. That means that the
    students will bear most of the responsibility for
    keeping the class moving. Students MUST be
    prepared for class.

4
Expectations of Students
  • Students will be expected to
  • 1) Attend class regularly.
  • 2) Participate in class discussions.
  • 3) Complete five (5) written case study reports.
  • 4) Prepare an individual, written research
    project.
  • 5) Complete a mid-term essay examination.
  • 6) Prepare and present a book summary on a book
    about contemporary issues in environmental
    ethics.
  • 7) Thou shalt not plagiarize!

5
Basis for Student Grades
  • Completion of all assignments is a necessary
    condition for receiving a passing grade in the
    course. Those students entitled to a passing
    grade will be evaluated as follows.
  • 25 will be based on the case studies.
  • 40 will be based on the research project,
  • 25 will be based on the mid-tern examination.
  • 10 of the grade will be based on the book
    summary.

6
Texts
  • Pojman, Louis, Environmental Ethics Readings in
    Theory and Application, 4th ed., Wadsworth
    Boston, 2005.

7
Why Do We Need a Course in Environmental Ethics?
  • Check the headlines
  • Monsanto and PCBs
  • Corps of Engineers and the Missouri River
  • EPA standards for arsenic in drinking water
  • Kyoto Treaty and Global Climate Change

8
Why Do We Need a Course in Environmental Ethics?
  • Technological Change Plus the Technological
    Imperative
  • If we can do something, then we should do it
  • Human impact on the environment
  • Changing Society
  • Views of the role of people in our environment
  • Changing values (religious, social)
  • Increased wealth
  • Formal Rules (EPA, RCRA, CERCLA)

9
Humanitys Top Ten Problemsfor next 50 years
  1. Population Consumption
  2. Energy
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Waste Pollution
  6. Poverty
  7. War
  8. Emerging Diseases
  9. Education
  10. Democracy

2004 6.5 Billion People 2050 10
Billion People
10
Overview of Ethical Theory
  • What is a Theory?

11
Overview of Ethical Theory
  • What is a Theory? Scientific theories
  • Tool for describing our experience
  • Tool for predicting future experience
  • Tool for organizing our experiences

12
Good Theories Must
  • Fit (generally) our experience
  • Be subject to test and refutation

13
Are Ethical Theories Really Theories?
  • What are the data in ethics?
  • Considered moral judgments
  • Can ethical theories be tested?
  • Test cases and moral senses

14
Components of an Ethical Theory
  • Theory of Value (Axiology)
  • Monistic (there is only one thing of value)
  • Pluralistic (several things have value)

15
Components of an Ethical Theory
  • Theory of Value (Axiology)
  • Theory of Obligation (Deontology)

16
Two Major Types of Theories of Obligation
  • Relativist
  • Non-relativist (absolutist)

17
Relativist Theories
  • There are no universal or objective standards of
    right and wrong, there are no universal duties.
    Right is a concept that makes sense only in a
    context what is right is relative to a context.

18
Non-Relativist Theories
  • There are objective, universal standards of
    conduct that apply to all people in all settings.

19
Major Non-Relativist Theories of Obligation
  • Consequentialist
  • Duty Based
  • Rights Based
  • Natural Law
  • Virtue Ethics

20
Consequentialist Theories
  • The rightness or wrongness of an act is
    determined through reference to the consequences
    of the act. Right actions maximize value.

21
Duty Based Theories of Obligation
  • Human reason allows us to discover universal
    duties or obligations that ew have to one another.

22
Rights Based Theories of Obligation
  • People come equipped with a basic set of rights,
    respect for which is a defining feature of moral
    action. Right actions respect basic rights.

23
Natural Law
  • The Divine law sets the standard for all human
    laws. Humans are obligated to act in accordance
    with the Divine law, and all human laws should
    embody it.

24
Virtue Ethics
  • Act in ways that promote the development of and
    display virtuous character traits

25
Major Ethical Principles
  • Nonmaleficence
  • Beneficence
  • Utility
  • Distributive Justice
  • Autonomy
  • Precautionary Principle

26
Nonmaleficence
  • Act in ways that do not cause harm or needless
    suffering to others. This principle is a
    formalization of the "above all else, do no harm"
    edict.

27
Beneficence
  • Act in ways that promote the welfare of other
    people. This principle requires affirmative
    steps be taken to advance the welfare of others.

28
Utility
  • Act in ways that maximize good and minimize harm.
    Right actions maximize some measurable thing of
    value.

29
Distributive Justice
  • Act in way that promote a just distribution of
    social goods. This theory needs an independent
    theory of just distribution to be workable.

30
Autonomy
  • Act in ways that allow rational individuals to
    govern their own lives. Treat persons with
    respect and dignity and allow them to make
    decisions for themselves with regard to their own
    lives.

31
The Precautionary Principle
  • Take precautionary measures to anticipate,
    prevent or minimize climate change and mitigate
    its adverse effects. Rather than await
    certainty, regulators should act in anticipation
    of any potential environmental harm in order to
    prevent it.

32
Roles, Responsibilities, Values and Conflicts
33
Social Roles and Institutions
  • Established and continuing parts in a social
    enterprise
  • Characterized by distinctive activity
  • Special contexts of evaluation and appropriateness

34
Contexts of Evaluation and Appropriateness
  • Prescribed means (constraints on reasons)
  • Constraints on actions
  • Prescribed ends

35
The Ecology of Social Roles
  • A roles is shaped by the demands of complementary
    roles surrounding it, and roles change in
    response to changes in other interacting roles

36
Responsibilities and Values are Defined by Roles
37
Role Responsibilities
  • Expectations that are placed on an agent in
    virtue of that agents acting in a certain role
    capacity

38
Role Responsibilities
  • Expectations that are placed on an agent in
    virtue of that agents acting in a certain role
    capacity
  • Included and excluded reasons--agents acting in
    roles are expected to use, or exclude certain
    types of reasons

39
People Fill Several Roles Simultaneously
  • The fundamental values and responsibilities of
    different roles may come into open conflict
  • Inconsistent social messages about values

40
Three conflicting roles
  • Consumer
  • Citizen
  • Neighbor

41
Values Vary by Role
  • What is valued in one role may not be valued in,
    or may be harmful to, another

42
Inconsistent Social Messages About Values
  • Success wealth and avarice
  • Work virtue or punishment
  • Societal Values liberty, justice, and equality
  • Land values stewardship or dominion
  • Confusion between morality and legality

43
M.L. King on Morality and Legality
  • Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can
    be regulated. We cannot change the heart, but we
    may restrain the heartless.

44
  • Law is External
  • Morality is Internal
  • Law is about what we MUST Do
  • Morality is about what we STRIVE to Do and Be

45
Ethics is about doing more than you are required
to do, but less than you are allowed to do
  • Michael Josephson
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