Bryan G.· Norton, “Environmental Ethics and Weak. Anth ropocentrism,” Environmental Ethics,. Vol. 6, No.2 (Summer ), pp. Anthropocentrism is. In Bryan G. Norton’s article entitled, “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” Norton explains his perspective of how an adequate environmental. A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism. Blog Environmentalists have struggled with a pragmatic.

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It is possible, I hold, to develop the weak anthropocentric position further than that environmetnal by Norton. Noel Castree – – Ethics, Place and Environment 6 1: Norton tries to adopt a more defensible worldview of weak anthropocentrism, which is more appealing to environmentalists because it is not as radical, not difficult to justify claims of the intrinsic value of nonhuman objects, and it provides a framework for stating obligations that do beyond just human concerns, or felt preferences.

In the former theory only hu mans are the loci of what he calls fundamental value. As matters stand he has not indicated any crucial difference. Wolves are an iconic animal and considered sacred to some people.

But one can harm something only if it is a good in its own right in the sense of being a loci of fundamental value[16]. Bryan G Norton has a more pragmatic, realistic approach to environmental issues. The former is “any desire or need of a human individual that can at least temporarily be sated by some specifiable experience of that individual.

These things could be intellectual, aesthetic, moral, spiritual states, or psychological states such as pleasure or hap pine ss. Therefore, everyone deserves fair treatment and access to environmental goods. Sign in Create an account.

But it also allows for the rejection of certain felt preferences because these would be incompatable anthropocentrksm a considered world view. Skip to main content.

Nevertheless, even if Norton’s position is expanded in this way, some difficulties still remain. Consider aerial hunting in Alaska. He concludes that weak anthropocentrism can meet the adequacy criterion. By maintaining the dichotomy between acting on the basis of felt preferences and acting on the basis of some rationally maintained ideal, it is possible to censure practices generally held to be environmentally destructive.


It is compatible with utilitaritian views on which all that matters is the satisfaction of the interests of individual humans.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism | existjg

Norton seems to believe that if we were only a little more wise, a little more rational, if we would only learn from ecology and evolu tion, we would then create a rationally held world view that would guide us to environmentally sound considered preferences.

This site uses cookies. To be sure, some rationally held world views will engender considered preferences that are environmentally beneficial, and the position can be used to give sound preservation arguments for natural entities, especially to those environmental decision makers who are operating within the an thropocentric framework.

To be sure, there are some world views that do create environmentally acceptable considered pref erences he mentions the Jains and Hindus, as well as Thoreaubut there is no argument by Norton showing why a rationally adopted world view will create preferences that are favorable to the environment, only But this establishes only that theories of the distant future must not be person-regarding.

Norton also discusses strong anthropocentrism, which is similar to our previously discussed notion of anthropocentrism. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

Thus, strong anthropocentrism places value on the satisfaction of individual felt preferences, while weak anthropocentrism fulfills some felt preferences but emphasizes considered preferences as the central determinate factor of values. Michel Dion – – Environmental Ethics 20 2: The history of environmental ethics reflects this ex pansion as ethivs such as the experience of pleasure or happiness, sentience, and the act of flourishing were judged to be of intrinsic val ue.

A common argument offered against the standard anthropocentric position nortin the “last people” argument mentioned earlier. To further explain his theories, Norton defines a few terms. At envirohmental a strongly anthropocentric value theory could provide a theory enfironmental the best use of the environment, with “best use” determined by felt preferences of individuals.

In this way the weak anthropocentric position may hold that some things over and above human states and experiences may have an intrinsic value.


Sign in to use this feature. A Typology of Corporate Environmental Policies. But as long as the danger exists of people coming to prefer plastic trees and internal problems as well remain, the wise plan of action would be to provide an environmental ethic based on a nonanthropocentric axiology as well.

Should ideals be shown to be human preferences, then the weak anthropocentric position would collapse back into the strong, and there would be a need for a nonanthropocentrically based environmental et hic. He ar gues that a modified anthropocentric axiology can be sufficient upon which to base a truly environmental et h anthropocentrsim.

A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

While it is true that he would ethivs the cruelty towards animals to be wrong, the wrongness results from an anthopocentric concept of duty to other humans. Natura and the Burden of Proof.

Such a theory “takes unque,stioned felt preferences of human individuals as determining value,” [20] and as such provides no check on those in dividuals who regard nature as a vast storehouse of resources to be exploited.

Should Extinction Be Forever? This position holds that what we come to know and value about nature is structured by our human perspective. Anthropocentric Indirect Arguments for Environmental Protection. Presumably in terms of the earth there will be more than one person managing such dthics large planet.

Given the challenge made by both quantum physics and ecology to the traditional western ontologies, Norton needs to show what claims his po sition has made.

Bryan G. Norton, Environmental ethics and weak anthropocentrism – PhilPapers

For example, I can meet my desire for sustenance by either making a sandwich in my kitchen or buying one from a deli. There would be no moral wrong done because the normal Western tradi tions only place intrinsic value in and grant moral considerability to persons, their experiences, and their preferences.

This position recognizes that some preferences can be considered, i.