Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics
Philosophical Views
• Liberal
– Mark Sagoff
• Moderate
– William Baxter
– Norman Bowie
– W. Michael Hoffman
• Conservative
– Gretchen Morgenson & Gale Eisenstodt
Mark Sagoff
• Instrumental value, value something has
towards fulfilling some goal. Analogous to
extrinsic value.
• Discusses, Zuckerman’s Dilemma,
• What is this?
William Baxter
• In his essay, “People or Penguins”
• Baxter argues that people have intrinsic
value, but that penguins do not.
• In Baxter’s words, “ Every human being
should be regarded as an end rather than
as a means to be used for the betterment
of another.”
• This means that people have intrinsic
value and should not be used.
Value Concepts
• Intrinsic Value
• Extrinsic Value
Intrinsic Value
• Intrinsic value is value that a thing has in
and of its self.
• Often valuable as an ends.
• Examples:
• Happiness, Love, Honor, Family, Heath,
and Freedom
Extrinsic Value
• Something has extrinsic if it is valuable as
a means to acquiring or attaining
something we value in virtue of itself.
• For example money has little or no
intrinsic value, it’s just bits of paper or
metal, but it has great extrinsic value in
that it can used to acquire other items
which we do value.
Penguins have value
• Penguins have
value, if people
find then
valuable. If they
make us happy
or we enjoy
watching them
march across
Norman Bowie
• Business should not interfere in political
regulation of environmental policy.
Business Should not Interfere
1. Business argues that it has no special
obligation to the environment because it is
willing to follow consumer’s preference on this
2. Because of external factors consumers cannot
express their preferences in the market
3. Therefore they must express them in the
political arena
4. Business intervention interferes with the
express of those preferences
5. Since 4 follows from 1, business should not
interfere in the political process.
W. Michael Hoffman
• Extremes in weather show that there are
serious ramification to environmental
• He argues against Norman Bowie saying
that business, the government and
consumers should work together to
resolve environmental issues.
Gretchen Morgenson & Gale
• Government regulation is not the answer
to environmental ethics.
• A free market approach is the solution.
• Whales are highly evolved animals with all
the sensitivities that that statement
• They have a complex social life. They call
to one another across the vast expanses
of the oceans.
• They are the largest animals that have
ever existed, far larger than any dinosaur.
Synthetic vs. Natural
• There is nothing in the body of a whale,
which is of use to us, for which we cannot
find equivalents elsewhere.
What value do whale’s have today?
• Instrumental?
• Aesthetic
• Moral?
Global Warming
• Global
Warming is a
• Warmer oceans, more tropical cyclones,
stronger hurricanes, rising oceans.
• Extremes in weather, change in
environment resulting in loss of habitats
for numerous creatures.
Glaciers are melting
• More than 110 glaciers have disappeared
from Montana’s Glacier National Park over
the past 150 years, and researchers
estimate that the park’s remaining 37
glaciers may be gone in another 25 years.
• Half a world away on the African equator,
Hemingway’s snows of Kilimanjaro are
steadily melting and could completely
disappear in the next 20 years.
• In the Alps, Andes and Rockies, glaciers
are retreating and disappearing every
Air Pollution
• Smog clouds
our cities.
Acid Rain
• The term "acid rain" is commonly used to mean
the deposition of acidic components in rain,
snow, fog, dew, or dry particles. The more
accurate term is "acid precipitation."
• Distilled water, which contains no carbon
dioxide, has a neutral pH of 7. Liquids with a pH
less than 7 are acid, and those with a pH greater
than 7 are alkaline (or basic).
• "Clean" or unpolluted rain has a slightly acidic
pH of 5.6, because carbon dioxide and water in
the air react together to form carbonic acid, a
weak acid.
Acid in DC
• Around Washington, D.C. the average rain pH is
between 4.2 and 4.4.
• The extra acidity in rain comes from the reaction
of air pollutants, primarily sulfur oxides and
nitrogen oxides, with water in the air to form
strong acids (like sulfuric and nitric acid). The
main sources of these pollutants are vehicles
and industrial and power-generating plants. In
Washington, the main local sources are cars,
trucks, and buses.
Acid Rain in the USA
Numerous other concerns
• The environment, plant and animal
extinctions, human development of natural
lands, and fossil fuels are all major issues
within this topic.