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ENVISOC Environment and Society Module 1


Theoretical and Philosophical Dimensions of Environment-Society Interactions

At the end of the module, the students are expected to be able to:

Differentiate the main and basic arguments of the various classical ethical theories on the environment that govern environment-society interactions Discuss the different Western ethical perspectives on the manner human societies engage the environment through the use of natural resources Discuss the features of the non-Western perspectives on society-environment interactions Differentiate the Western from the non-Western perspectives on society-environment interactions Apply the different ethical perspectives in the analysis of current environmental issues and concerns


Pictures of environmental problems such as deforestation, floods, pollution, drought, etc.

STUDENTS INITIAL IDEAS ABOUT TOPIC/THEME: Nature has no inherent rights; only humans have rights The goodness of the acts of humans vis--vis the environment is measured only on the basis of whether such promote human interests

KEY CONCEPT POINTS FOR UNDERSTANDING1: Philosophy, Science, the Environment and Natural Resources The Myth of the Technological Fix o Not all problems can be solved by technology alone o Science is not a neutral body of knowledge It has its own biasesin favor of a particular method to the exclusion of others

These concept points are based on the generally accepted body of literature on the subject, and unless specified, are not the original ideas of the faculty lecturers and tutors

It is an exclusionary body of knowledgethere are rules involved for the production of scientific knowledge o Most environmental problems are also results of science and technology The Role of Philosophy in the Environment o Environmental problems are outcomes of human-habitat interactions o Human-habitat interactions are influenced by worldviews or cosmologies, that is, how human beings see their natural environment o Such cosmology is based on a set of Ethical and Moral Norms Ethical Normstandard of what is right based on an externally defined norm of what should be or what is acceptable as correct Moral Normstandard of what is good based on a norm that is derived from standards inherent in the ideal human nature (Man as inherently Good) o Decision-making process, as a social and political process, is a reflection of these norms Perceptions of what is right and good vis--vis the environment influence political choices and decisions This, in turn, is reflected in the modes of environmental governance

Ethical Theory and the Environment Ethicsa branch of Philosophy that seeks a reasoned examination of what customs tells us about how we ought to live Concern of Ethical Analysis: what is what ought to be Descriptive EthicsA statement of what is customary as a basis for ethical behavior Difference between ordinary experience and the first level of philosophical abstraction is the difference between what is done (or valued or believed) and what ought to be done (or valued or believed) Normative EthicsThe rendering of ethical judgments, giving advice, and offering of evaluations of what ought or should be o Normative judgments prescribe behavior Pesticide used should be reduced Logging should be banned Philosophical EthicsThe analysis and evaluation of normative judgments and their supporting reasons o Includes general concepts, principles, and theories to which we appeal in defending and explaining normative claims Environmental EthicsA branch of Philosophy involving the systematic study and evaluation of normative judgments about human-environment interactions Ethical TheoryAn element of Philosophical Ethics; an attempt to provide systematic answers to philosophical questions raised by descriptive and normative approaches to ethics o Individual moral questions What should I do? What kind of person should I be? What do I value? How should I live? o Questions for public policy or social philosophy

What type of society is best? What policies should we follow as a group? What social arrangements and practices will best protect and promote individual well-being? What should be done when individuals disagree? Relevance of Ethical Theory o Ethical theory provides a common language for discussing and understanding ethical issues o Ethical theory enables us to become more aware of the patterns and assumptions in our ways of thinking o Ethical theory offers guidance and evaluation in specific situations and uses these to generate recommendations o Ethical theory enables us to be self-critical of the negative impacts of theories to ourselves

Classical Ethical Theories Related to the Environment Natural Law or Teleological Tradition Can be traced to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Aristotelian Ethics o To fully understand something, one has to understand the causes for being the way it is o Four causes of an objects existence MaterialWhat an object is made from, i.e. its matter FormalHow the matter is organized and structured so that this material is what it is rather than something else that is made from the same material EfficientHow something comes to be what it is, i.e. the process, event or object/person responsible for the existence of the object FinalThe purpose or characteristic activity of the object o Aristotle believes that all things have a natural and distinctive activity; the goal of this activity, i.e. its purpose or function, is called as its telos o Aristotle distinguishes two basic types of natural objects: living and non-living Living objects possess a psyche or a soul Three types of souls Nutritive or appetitivecapacity to nutrition, growth and reproduction Sensitivecapacity to feel, desire and move Thinkingcapacity to think Plants possess only the nutritive soul; animals possess both the nutritive and sensitive souls; only humans possess the three souls o Basic Argument of Aristotelian EthicsThings are good when they fulfill their natural activity or function, i.e. when they actualize their potential Thomistic Ethics o Thomas Aquinas interprets the scientific and ethical teleology of Aristotle as evidence that a divine plan operates in nature o Natural order, being Gods work, is also a moral order

Hierarchy of humans over nature and other objects is a natural order, hence, also a moral order However, humans should not destroy nature since this violates the natural laws, and hence the moral order of things o Basic Argument of Thomistic EthicsFulfilling our natural potential, a potential implicitly in harmony with the rest of nature, is the highest form of ethical activity for an individual Problems of Teleological Ethics o Not all natural objects have some definite and distinctive telos that can be fixed o Evolutionary theory enables the changing of natural objects, hence the inability to have fixed causes or telos o Not all things are good just because they are naturalexample, pain and suffering caused by death, disease, natural disasters

The Utilitarian Tradition Based on the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill The goodness of an act is based on its consequences o If the act tends to maximize good consequences, it is an ethically right act; if it does not, the act is ethically wrong o Good consequencemaximize the overall good; produce the greatest good for the greatest number o Two elements An account of the good A rule for judging all acts and decisions in terms of that good Two types of values o Intrinsic valuethe good inherently held (pleasure, happiness) o Instrumental valuethe goodness of something because of its relation to the good, of how it contributes to the optimal attainment of that good Two versions of Utilitarianism o HedonisticPleasure, or the absence of pain, is the only good valued for its own sake o PreferenceA world in which as many people have as much of what they desire as possible would be the ethically best world Problems of Utilitarianism o Measurement problems The good is taken to be that which has intrinsic value; but intrinsic value is not easily counted, measured or compared Attempts to quantify or put value on things tend to distort, or fail to capture, the whole reality Impossibility of including all people; this results to limiting the analysis of consequences only to those immediately affectedcreates problems when the act being evaluated have far-reaching impacts across space and time o Fundamental problems Utilitarianism judges acts not on the basis of its principles, but on the basis of its consequences

Thus, it fails to provide a complete analysis of good acts that produce bad consequences, or wrong acts that produce correct results.

Deontology or Kantian Ethics Based on the work of Immanuel Kant Emphasizes the notion of acting on principle rather than consequences; and that the central concepts of ethics involve duties and rights (deontology is the Greek word for duty) Premises of Kantian Ethics o We can be held responsible only for those things we can control o These principles are expressions of the intention of our action o We are ethical beings because we are rational beings who can freely form intentions and deliberately choose to act upon them o We are acting ethically whenever the principle or maxim upon which we act is a rational one A rational principle is one that is categorical and universal Categorical imperative To act only in those ways that all rational beings would find acceptable To treat people as ends and not simply as means, or as subjects and not simply as objectsthus, we are ethically obliged to treat people as rational and autonomous beings o Implications on duties and rights Kantian ethics places primary value on duty to treat other people with respect and on the rights of equality and freedom These basic rights and duties all follow from our nature as being capable of free and rational action Problems of Kantian Ethics o Some critics claim that Kantian ethics offers no basis for making substantive value judgments about acts The goodness of acts are based on how people are treated, and not on the content of the choice made o Over-emphasis on rights could lead to an emphasis on wantsthis results to an explosion of rights, with society becoming a collection of numerous interest groups, each claiming rights against the greater public interest and over-all social good o Anthropocentic, or human-centered, biasthere is little basis for ethical obligations to things that are not like human beings, that is, not free or rational.

Ethical Relativism Ethical relativismA view that denies the possibility for making objective ethical judgments Main propositions o Ethical standards depend upon, or are relative to, an individuals feelings, culture, religion o Ethics is merely and exclusively a matter of what is customary

It is all a matter of opinion, and therefore time is wasted on finding the correct or true answers to controversies Reasons for rejecting Ethical relativism o We should not confuse the fact that people disagree about ethical issues with the philosophical claim that objective agreement is impossible It is a mistake to conclude that there is no right answer simply because two cultures hold different beliefs o Ethical reasoning does not work for absolute standards, but only to provide guides for reasoned decisions o Ethical relativism could lead to debilitating passivity, resignation, and apathy about social, moral, legal, economic and political issues o

Environmental Ethics and Resource Use: The Western Perspectives Anthropocentric Ethics AnthropocentrismA worldview that looks at humans as the center and the primary entity from whose point of view the natural world is analyzed Judeo-Christian Ethics o Basic Foundation: Genesis o Humans are created in the image of Godhence we have moral and metaphysical uniqueness o Humans are naturally good o Humans are superior to nature; we are separate from, and transcend, nature o Humans have been commanded by God to subdue and dominate nature The Concept of Moral Standing o Western philosophical tradition denies the existence of any direct moral relationships between humans and the natural environment o Most ethical theories argue that: Only humans have moral standing All other things have ethical value only in so far as they serve human interests Ethical Theory and Moral Standing o Natural Law or Aristotelian-Thomistic Ethics (Aristotle and Aquinas) Only human beings are moral agents because they possess an intellect (or soul) capable of thinking and choosing o Kantian Ethics (Immanuel Kant) Limits rights and moral standing to subjects and ends; and not to objects and means Only autonomous beings, such as humans, capable of free and rational action, are moral beings o Cartesian Ethics (Rene Descartes) The criterion for moral standing is consciousness Anything not conscious is a mere physical thing and can be treated without concern for its well-being o Utilitarian Ethics (Jeremy Bentham) The question is not, Can they reason? Nor can they talk? But can they suffer?

Moral considerability should extend to all things that have the capacity to feel pleasure and pain (i.e, are sentient). Environmental Implications of Dominant Ethical Theories o Much of Western philosophical tradition is unsympathetic to the idea of a direct responsibility to the natural world o This tradition provides a rationale for the exploitation and dominance of the natural worldled to the present environmental crises Early Varieties of Environmental Ethics o John Passmore (Mans Responsibility for Nature, 1974) Materialistic greed of consumerist societies are lamentable; we should adopt a more sensuous attitude toward the world There must be a new ethic in relating with the environment, in which aesthetic value plays an important role The natural world has no value in its own right; it is valuable because humans care for it, love it, and find it beautiful Humans have responsibilities regarding the natural environment, but the basis of these responsibilities lies in human interests o William Blackstone There is a difference between those things that we merely desire with those things that we have rights There are universal and inalienable human rights, but these rights entail a correlative duty or obligation on the part of other people to either act or refrain from acting in certain ways There are moral duties that limit liberties and the exercise of certain other rights Argues that basic human rights that follow from the nature of human beings as free and rational beingssuch as equality, liberty, happiness, life and propertycould not be realized without a safe, healthy and livable environment Human beings have a right to a livable environment Recent Debates on Moral Standing o Anthropocentric Extensionism The practice of extending moral standing to include future generation of humans or to develop new human rights Duties are in terms of duties regarding the environment, and not duties to the environment o Nonanthropocentric Extensions of ethics Attempts to extend ethics and give moral standing to things other than human beingsanimals, plants and other natural objects Joel Feinbergs arguments In order to meaningfully say that we have an obligation to some object, rather than merely an obligation regarding that object, the object must have some welfare or good of its own To say that something has a good and a bad is to say that it has interests Only things with conative life, or with conscious wishes, desires, hopes; or urges or impulses; or unconscious drives, aims, or goals; or latent tendencies, direction of growth and natural fulfillments, can be said to have interests

Some animals, such as higher animals, can be said to have rights o Plants do not have rights o Species do not have rights, only individual animals of the speciesduties can only be to individual beings that possess the appropriate cognitive equipment. Christopher Stones arguments Argues to extend legal, if not moral, rights to the natural environment Bases his claim for standing less on the characteristics of humans and more on the nature of legal rights Nature of legal rights o Rights are products of evolutionary development o Rights exist when they are recognized by some public authoritative body o Rights function to protect rights-holders from injury, and the list of rights-holders has been continually expanded In order for a thing to count jurally (or have legal rights), the following criteria must be satisfied: o The thing can institute legal action at its behest o In determining the granting of legal relief, the court must take injury to it into account o The relief must run to the benefit of it Arguments in support of why giving legal rights to trees and other natural objects satisfies the three criteria o A guardian or conservator or trustee could be appointed to represent the interests of natural objects, in the same manner that corporations and mentally incompetent persons have legal guardians or trustees o A responsible party can be held liable for injuring the environment o Such party can be asked to compensate the natural object by returning the environment to its health, with environmental health describing the state in which the environment existed before the injury Challenges to the arguments o It is not clear that we can agree on the interests of natural objects o Who should be the guardian of the environment? o

Bio-centric Ethics Instrumental Value and Intrinsic Value o The role of value Central to comprehensive environmental philosophy is a consideration of the nature and scope of value A full account of value determines the ethical domain by helping to define what objects have moral relevance, or what objects deserve consideration

Ethics is concerned with how we should live, how we should act, the kind of persons we should be. Defining the full scope of these shoulds is to give account of all that has value or worth o Types of value Instrumental Valueis a function of usefulness An object with instrumental value possesses that value because it can be used to attain something else of value The instrumental value of an object lies not in the object itself but in the uses to which that object can be put Environmental concerns rest usually on the instrumental value of the environment However, emphasizing only the instrumental value of nature effectively means that the environment is held hostage by the interests and needs of humans Intrinsic Valueis a value held in itself An object has intrinsic value if we recognize in them a moral, spiritual, symbolic, aesthetic, or cultural importance We value them for themselves, for what they mean, for what they stand for, for what they are, not for how they are used Many environmental concerns rest upon the intrinsic value that we recognize in nature, as more than just resources in that they constitute part of our heritage and history o Pragmatic Realities Development of a more systematic environmental philosophy often involves a shift from a narrow focus on moral standing or moral rights and responsibilities to a more general discussion of value, especially intrinsic value Unfortunately, appeals to intrinsic value are often met with skepticism Many believe that value is subjective, a matter of personal opinion Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder Thus, when a measurable instrumental value (e.g. profit) conflicts with intangible and elusive intrinsic value (e.g. beauty of a rainforest), the instrumental value too often wins by default Biocentric Ethicrefers to any theory that view all life as possessing intrinsic value o Albert Schweitzers Reverence for Life Prior to the rise of modernity, the goodness of life was connected with the goodness of nature The rise of science and technology, and the industrialized society, split the connection between ethics and nature by viewing nature as an indifferent, value-free, mechanical force Modern science often views nature as a machine, governed by physical and mechanical laws There is no good nor evil intrinsic to nature itself Set adrift in such a world, human ethics is left without a foundation Schweitzer sought to reestablish the bond between nature and ethics reverence for life ethic

All living things have an intrinsic value, a value that commands our awe and reverence Life is not a neutral, value-free fact of the universe; it is good in itself; it is inspiring and deserving of respect Reverence for life is not an ethical rule, but a fundamental attitudethis is not an ethics of rules, but an ethics of character or virtue o Rule-based ethics focuses on human actions and seek to defend some rule or principle that we use to judge whether those actions are right or wrong (e.g. Classical ethical theories such as deontology, utilitarianism, and natural law) o Virtue-based ethics constructs a philosophical account of the morally-good person, describing and defending certain character traits of that good Paul Taylors Biocentric Ethics (Respect for Nature, 1986) As a biocentric theorist, Taylor sought a systematic and comprehensive account of the moral relations that exist between humans and other living things Taylor sees this relationship as being based upon the inherent worth of all life Main arguments It is meaningful to say that all living things have a good of their own, as teleological centers of life A things good (objective good) is not always identical with what that being believes is its good (subjective good) We should ignore the concept of apparent or subjective good, and give preference to actual or objective good Four central beliefs Humans are seen as members of Earths community of life in the same sense and on the same terms as all other living things (biospecies equality) All species, including humans, are part of a system of interdependence All living things pursue their own good in their own ways (teleological center of life belief) Humans are understood as not inherently superior to other living things General rules or duties that follow from the attitude of respect for nature Non-maleficencerequires that we do no harm to any organism; that is, we have a duty to refrain from any act that would harm an organism with a good of its own o This duty applies only to moral agents o This is the most fundamental duty to nature Non-interferencerequires that we do not interfere with the freedom of individual organisms or, in general, with ecosystems of biotic communities

We should neither actively prevent organisms from freely pursuing their good, nor should we act so as to deny them the necessities required to attain that goal o We should not try to manipulate, control, modify, or manage natural ecosystems or otherwise in their normal functioning Fidelityapplies only to animals that live in the wild; we should not deceive or betray wild animals (occurs for example in game hunting) Restitutive justicerequires that we who harm other living organisms make restitution to those organisms Priority Rules when there is conflict among the four duties When there is conflict, non-maleficence takes precedence over the other three When conflicts cannot be avoided for the remaining three and when significant good can result without permanent harm, restitutive justice outweighs fidelity, which outweighs noninterference Priority rules for resolving conflicts between ethical claims of humans and other living things Principle of Self-defensejustify favoring human interests when the conflicting interests of nonhuman organisms threaten or endanger human health or life; this principle holds only as a last resort o Example: exterminating an infectious organism or insect Principle of Proportionalityif the non-basic human interest is incompatible with the basic interests of non-humans, satisfying the non-basic human interest should be prohibited o Example: Human interest in killing reptiles to make fashionable shoes and handbags Principle of Minimum Wrongif non-basic human interests can be made compatible with the basic interests of nonhumans, even if they threaten or endanger the non-humans, satisfying the nonbasic human interest can be allowed provided that the basic interests of the non-humans can be protected o Example: Human interest in damming a river for a hydroelectric power plant, provided that adequate safeguards will be made to protect those other living things that will be adversely affected Principle of Distributive Justicesets the conditions for resolving conflicts between the basic interests of humans and non-humans; fairness demands that burdens be shared equally and that the distribution of benefits and burdens be accomplished impartially Principle of Restitutive Justicedemands that restitution be made whenever a resolution of conflict fails to meet the conditions established by the principles of minimum wrong or distributive justice Criticisms o

Ecocentric Ethics Biocentric ethics involves a radical shift in ethical thinking, from anthropocentric ethics, by extending moral standing to much of the natural world However, biocentric ethics, to some people, has not gone far enough in that it limits moral standing only to individual organisms that possess life Ecocentric ethics extends this by giving moral consideration to nonliving natural objects and ecological systems o It is holistic in the sense that ecological wholes, such as ecosystems or species, as well as nonliving natural objects and the relationships that exist among natural objects, are seen as deserving direct moral consideration Ecologythe he science that studies living organisms in their home environment Ecological Models o Organic Model In this view, individual species are related to their environment as organs are related to the human body This model explains the parts-to-whole relationship in terms of an organism and mature of change in terms of development or maturity The ecosystem serves as one organic whole, with a life of its own Since ecological systems have a natural telos, we can determine in a scientifically objective manner what is good and proper for that system o Ecosystems Model Nature is organized into ecosystemse.g. grasslands, lakes, forests that are structured in such a way that, through the normal functioning of the individual members, the systems maintain a relatively stable equilibrium Nature is not reducible to a collection of independent and isolated parts This whole is not itself a being or organism with an independent life, but simply a collection of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) elements organized in a determinate way Strands Community Model o Nature is understood as a community or society in which parts are related to the whole as citizens are related to a community or as individuals are related to their family o Relationships among organisms exist in terms of food exchanges: individual members are identified by the food function they perform in the system or in the food chain (as producers, consumers, or decomposers Energy Model o The focus is on the ecosystem as an energy system or circuit Emphasis on non-interference assumes that humans are separate from naturethis still falls within the anthropocentric bias of humans being detached from nature Taylors ethics emphasizes too much on individuals and the adversarial relationships existing between individuals

o o The ecosystem appears as just another physical, mechanical system built around energy cycles (example: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, water) Since these cycles are ultimately driven by solar energy, ecologists can account for ecosystems in terms of the energy that flows through various chemical, biological and climatic cycles

Metaphysical Implications of Ecology o Ecocentric ethics and philosophies focus on the ecological communities formed by the interdependencies than upon individual organisms o Thus, ecocentric ethics is holistic rather than individualistic o Holismmain principle: The whole is more than the sum of its parts o Varieties of Holism Metaphysical HolismWholes exist, apart from or as real as their parts Thus, ecosystems have an independent existence beyond the existence of their individual elements Methodological or Epistemological HolismWe would have only an adequate understanding of the whole if we understand the parts and the interdependencies that exist between them An adequate understanding of an ecosystem comes only when we view individual organisms relative to the system of interdependencies in which they exist Ethical HolismMoral considerability should be extended to the wholes Just as we recognize that corporations have legal standing independent of the legal standing of their members, ethical standing can also be extended to ecosystems as emanating from their relevant individuals Views on the Wilderness o Wildernessan area unspoiled and undisturbed by human activity ..where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. o Models of the Wilderness Puritan Model The wilderness is an area to be avoided and feared It is where the faith of Gods chosen people are tested The wilderness presented a challenge to be overcome, an enemy to be dominated, a threat to be conquered, something that must be tamed and subdued Thus, the Puritan model encouraged an aggressive and antagonistic attitude toward the wilderness Lockean Model Sees the wilderness as given by God to all people in common, waiting for an individual with initiative and ambition to go out and work it and in the process, convert it into private personal property No longer something to be feared, the wilderness represents great potential for serving human ends; it is passiveserving no purposes other than those of its owners Unowned and unused, the wilderness is literally a wasteland

Gifford Pinchot and the early conservationist movement adhered to this model Romantic Model Views the wilderness as a symbol of innocence and purity The wilderness is the place to which humans can turn to escape the corrupting influences of civilization Philosophical roots found in the writings of Rousseau, and of Americans Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau o Rousseaunature represented what was genuine, authentic and virtuous about human existence o Emerson and ThoreauNew England transcendentalism; argued that unspoiled by human activity, the wilderness is the most authentic instance of transcendent realityit is the environment in which humans may attain their closets contact with the highest truths and with spiritual excellence Criticisms o The romantic model has a tendency to view the unspoiled wilderness are a relatively benign and temperate place; in reality, the wilderness can in fact be a harsh place o Romantics tend to romanticize the wilderness as an image that existed in the pre-colonial past, ignoring the fact that the wilderness in their minds is home to indigenous cultures and civilizations o The romantic model still considers nature as separate from humans, and not as integral wholes o The model tend to see the wilderness as a static and unchanging place Varieties of Ecocentrism o GAIA Hypothesis (James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis) Suggested that the earth itself can be understood as a living organism Criticize human activities that degrade and pollute the planet o The Land Ethic (Aldo Leopold) The Land Ethic enlarges the boundaries of the moral community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively, the land The land community is granted moral standingindividual members of the community can be treated as resources so long as the community itself is respected o Deep Ecology Basic platform as a statement of common principles The flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth has intrinsic value. The value of non-human life forms is independent of the usefulness these may have for narrow human purposes. Richness and diversity of lifeforms are values in themselves and contribute to the flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth

Humans have not right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease in human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires such a decrease. Significant change of life conditions for better requires change in policies. These affect basic economic, technological and ideological structures The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality rather than adhering to a high standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes Criticisms Deep ecology appears to be misantrophic or hating humanity It sounds as eco-fascistic in its orientations It also appears as a uniquely American or Western ideology, essentially a radical branch of the wilderness preservation movement that is insensitive to the unique needs of poor and underdeveloped societies

Non-Western Environmental World-Views Comparison between Western and Eastern Philosophy Aspect Human Nature Western Philosophy Human beings are looked upon as individuals, special and unique, with definite specification based upon a personal set of characteristic emanating from a soul that is unique for every person Freedom is a valuable and central commodity; no ethics is possible without the existence of freedom Ethics is based on the individual God is a personal God There is only one way to arrive at ideasthrough science making use of our senses, through the process of abstraction Emphasis is on the material aspect Eastern Philosophy Human beings are looked upon as a speck in the universe of things; they do not possess a unique importance. Their existence is merely a continuation of another existence in a long continuous chain Freedom does no merit any attention; as human beings are not born free, i.e. they do not have a choice of parents, place and date of birth, bodily features, etc. Ethics is based on the group The Supreme Being is impersonal Ideas could also be reached through other ways, such as intuition, inspiration, and mysticism Emphasis is on the spiritual ad

Concept of Freedom

Basis of Ethics Theodicy or the study of Supreme Being Ideogenesis or the origin of ideas Epistemology or the

study of knowledge non-material form of knowing; does not have a philosophy of science and does not put any value on it Metaphysics of the Essence and existence are separate Individuals are mere links in a study of being entities; the individual has but one chain and hence are of very little life importance in the great chain of being; belief in reincarnation Cosmology or the The laws governing the earth are The earth is part of the entire study of the earth or not the same as those that govern universe of things; rules or laws nature human beings; human beings are govern both human beings and free, the earth is not nature Source: Emerita S. Quito. 1991. The Merging Philosophy of East and West. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Western Environmentalism versus Indigenous World-views Structurally, Western Environmentalism and its ideas of Biocentrism and Ecocentrism are similar in character to Non-Western environmental world-views o Both argue for the centrality of nature and the displacement of anthropocentrism as the dominant logic for human-habitat relationships o Both are anti-capitalist, anti-materialist development in orientation However, the context within which Western environmental ethics emerge is totally different from that of the Eastern and other indigenous worldviews o Western environmentalism emerge as a reaction to excessive anthropocentrism manifested in capitalist development These form of environmentalism provide a logic to environmental movements; this logic emerge as an external agenda, or as an alternative worldview in relation to the existing one o Indigenous environmental worldviews are organically derived from the logic of human-habitat interactions that exist in indigenous societies These worldviews provide organic logic to social movements that resist the expansion of capitalist exploitation; that is, they emerge in the context of the realities of these movements, and are not externally driven Environmental world-views are highly changing, and are not static o Thus, indigenous worldviews should not be romanticized o Instead, they should be seen in the context of political struggleas a domain within which competing agenda exist both to affect transformation, or to warrant resistance of knowledge to the exclusion of the spiritual; Science is of supreme value

PROCEDURE/ACTIVITIES/DISCUSSION/PROCESSING QUESTIONS: Time in minutes 30 30 30 Day May 26, Th Venue Master Lecture Topic/Activity For the first 30 minutes, introduce the students to the course, the course objectives, the nature of the course, the course activities and requirements, and the basis for assessment. For the remainder of the period, discuss with the

students the relationships that exist between philosophy, science and the environment and natural resources; as well as the role of ethical theory in environmental discussions and issues. As an assignment, ask the students to construct a personal map of their relationship to their environment, and the things in the environment that they value, and why such things have value to them. The map should be in the form of a diagram showing the following: o How the student locates himself/herself vis--vis the environment o What are the elements in the environment which the student values and the reason for such


30 30 30

May 30, M

Group Discussion

For the first 30 minutes, ask the students to post their personal map around the room, and select some of them to present and explain their diagrams. It is expected that most of the diagrams will be relatively ethnocentric and will value nature only for its material things. Point out the utilitarian or instrumentalist nature of these value systems, in which "values are usually interpreted as values in use. However, also notice those maps of students that already show some ecological element, in which nature and things are valued not only for their use but for their being. For the next 45 minutes, play on the dominant theme, and bring out tensions and problems regarding these world-views by showing pictures of environmental disasters and problems (floods, deforestation, drought, epidemics, etc.). Divide the class into groups, with each group deciding on which particular environmental problem it wants to focus on. Ask the students to brainstorm on the following questions: o What do you think are the causes of the environmental problem? o What do you think are the contributions of human beings to the existence of the problem? o Are we part of the causes of the problem or part of the solution? How? o On situations in which we are part of the causes of the problem, what particular aspects in our lives actually contribute to the problem (i.e. lifestyles, belief and value systems) o What particular changes should we adopt in our lives to help solve the problem? Are these changes possible and doable? At the last 15 minutes, ask each student to prepare an individual checklist on the aspects of his/her life which he/she finds as contributing to the environmental problem assigned to his group, as well as the corresponding changes that he/she needs to adopt in his/her personal life in order to address the problem. Ask the student to keep this list as this would be used in succeeding activities in this module.


30 30 30

June 2, Th

Master Lecture

Begin by asking the students the following questions: o How should we treat the environment? o Is it moral and ethical for us humans to alter and manipulate the natural environment to satisfy our needs and wants? Spend some time to elicit from the students their views. Consciously facilitate the discussion in a manner in which they would link their views to the activity they have done earlier in their group discussion classes. Point out to the students that these questions are complex, yet there are classical ethical theories related to the environment which can be used as basis for answering the questions. Then, proceed to a discussion of the three classical ethical theories: natural law or teleological tradition, utilitarianism, and deontology or Kantian ethics. Also discuss with the students the possibility for ethical relativism, as well as the reasons by which one can question or reject such relativism. At the end of the period, ask students to prepare a conceptual map which illustrates through a conceptual diagram the main differences between the three classical ethical theories. This will be checked by the lecturer and will be considered in the final assessment of the student. Also, require students to read the material on the following websites: o arson's_environmental_ethics (Rachel Carsons Environmental Ethics) o (The Intrinsic Rights of Martian Bugs) Begin the lecture by asking the students the following questions: o Does nature have rights? o What is the most moral and ethical relationship between humans and nature? At this point, ask students to reflect on the checklist which they have developed at the end of Day 2 of this module, as well as on the webbased articles which were assigned to them to read. Specifically, ask them to examine whether the list of proposed changes on their personal lives have began to address the possibility of

30 30 30

June 6, M

Master Lecture

granting some rights to nature and the environment. Spend some time to elicit views from students, particularly on the degree by which they find the idea of granting rights to nature as acceptable or not. After this, proceed to a discussion of the diverging environmental worldviews. Discuss the three varieties of western environmental ethical perspectives (anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism) and how the indigenous environmental ethical perspectives would differ from them. Ask students to further reflect on these different perspectives by first asking them to draw a conceptual map of the different perspectives, and then asking them the basic question: o Which perspective would the student find most acceptable, and why? Remind students to answer the said question in the context of the following: o How they first saw themselves vis--vis their relationship to the environment as shown by their personal map o How they later saw themselves in the context of their personal checklist of things to change to address specific environmental problems Ask students to prepare an individual reflection paper on the following questions, and further ask them to attach to the paper the output of their previous activities (personal map and personal checklist), as well as the conceptual map which they have drawn on the different perspectives. This will be submitted as output of Activity 1.1, and will be graded by the Master Lecturer. Design a simulation case study which would require the students to address a specific environmental ethical issue. This would include, but not limited, to the following possible themes: o The use of genetically-modified organisms o The use of animals for laboratory testing o Construction of hydroelectric power plants or nuclear plants as clean sources of energy relative to fossil fuel, but in themselves lead to environmental hazards (for nuclear plants) or often-times destroy natural environments (for hydroelectric dams)

30 30 30

June 9, Th

Group Discussion

30 30 30

July 14, Th

Group Discussion

Let the students decide which topic the class would address in the simulation, as well as the parameters for the simulation, in terms of: o The public decision to be made (i.e. for example, the action that needs to be prohibited or allowed) o The different sectors, interest groups, and stakeholders involved o Key questions to consider in relation to the ethical issue selected, both in general, as well as those that are specific to the sectors, interest groups and stakeholders identified Let the students assign among themselves who would play the role of each of the sectors, interest groups and stakeholders. Ask students to prepare for such roles by conducting their own research on the issues raised by the sector assigned to them, and the positions which such sector have traditionally taken. Encourage students assigned to a sector to brainstorm together. Also, ask students to visit relevant websites and other internet resources as references. Remind students to use as reference the various theories and perspectives that were discussed in the master lecture classes. This session will be devoted to the simulation exercise. This will be considered as Activity 1.2, and will be graded by the Faculty Tutor.

30 30 30

July 18, M

Group Discussion

OUTPUT(S): Activity 1.1.A reflection paper to be graded by the master lecturer Activity 1.2.Participation in a simulation exercise to be graded by the faculty tutor

ASSESSMENT: For Activity 1.1, the following rubric shall be used

The lecturer shall rate the individual report of the student in terms of how the output shows evidence of achieving the following objectives:

Objective The student has provided an explanation on his/her position on which

1 Barely

2 Fairly

3 Satisfactorily Fully


ethical perspective is most acceptable to him/her The student has referred to his/her personal map and personal checklist in the formulation of such a position The personal checklist developed by the student shows evidence of a realization of the problems inherent in the dominant perspective about human-environment interactions The paper shows evidence, as further supported by the conceptual map which was submitted, of the students capacity to differentiate the main and basic arguments of the various classical ethical theories, as well as the western and non-western perspectives on the environment that governs environmentsociety interactions



Satisfactorily Fully



Satisfactorily Fully



Satisfactorily Fully

Total Score Average Grade for the Activity (The Average rounded off to the nearest 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0)

Note: A grade of 0.0 will be given to students that do not submit an output, and those whose average score falls below 1.0 For Activity 1.2, the following rubric shall be used

The tutor shall rate each of the students on the basis of his/her participation in the simulation/role playing:


Aspect of students participation in the role-playing States and identifies issues


Does not state any issues

The student elaborates his/her statements with explanations, reasons, or evidence The student challenges the accuracy, logic, relevance, or clarity of statements made by his/her classmates

Does not elaborate any issues Does not challenge the accuracy, clarity, relevance, or logic of statements

States a relevant factual, ethical, or definitional issue as a question Elaborates a statement with an explanation, reasons, or evidence Does not challenge the accuracy, clarity, relevance, or logic of statements

Accurately states an issue

Accurately states and identifies issues

Pursues an issue with at least one elaborated statement Responds in a civil manner to a statement made by someone else by challenging its accuracy, clarity, relevance, or logic

Pursues an issue with one or more elaborated statements Constructively challenges the accuracy, clarity, relevance, or logic of statements made


The position of the student is authentic vis-vis role played

Position not consistent with the role played; there is no evidence that the role is taken seriously Barely

The student has applied the different ethical perspectives in the analysis of the environmental issue

Position somewhat consistent with the role played; there is slight evidence of seriousness in the manner the role is played Fairly

Position consistent with the role played; however, there is only fair evidence of seriousness in the manner the role is played Satisfactorily

Position consistent with the role played; there is strong evidence of seriousness in the manner role is played


Total Score Average Grade for the Activity (The Average rounded off to the nearest 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0) Note: A grade of 0.0 will be given to students that do not submit an output, and those whose average score falls below 1.0 REFERENCES: Barry, John. 1999. Environment and Social Theory. London and New York: Routledge Callicott, J. Baird and Roger T. Ames. 1989. Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy. Albany, New York: State University of New York press. Carter, Neil. 2001. The Politics of the Environment: Ideas, Activism, Policy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Des Jardins, Joseph R. 1997. Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy. Ca.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. Quito, Emerita. 1991. The Merging Philosophy of East and West. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Websites: (Rachel Carsons Environmental Ethics) (The Intrinsic Rights of Martian Bugs)