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Persons in Nature: Toward an Applicable and Unified Environmental Ethics
Ethics and the Environment
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 15-25
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40338926
Page Count: 11
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There is a dilemma facing mainstream environmental ethicists. One of our leading spokesmen, Holmes Rolston, III, offers a rich ethical position, but one that lacks internal connections between principles relevant to the environment and principles relevant to human society. These principles are just different; thus no higher-order guidance is available to cope with cases of conflict between them. A second major spokesman, Baird Callicott, recommends a "land ethics" that is internally coherent but sadly inadequate for addressing many distinctly human ethical concerns. To escape this dilemma I advocate an alternative worldview, "Personalistic Organicism." On this view, inspired by Alfred North Whitehead, a continuum of values, pervading the universe, can undergird a unified ethics in which human persons are recognized as especially valuable without rupturing the continuities that bind humanity to the rest of the living (and nonliving) environment.
Ethics and the Environment © 1996 Indiana University Press