After you have read all of the Articles in this section to learn the arguments that philosophers make, you can determine what your own views are.
Topic 1: Animal Rights
- are inferior to humans and therefore unimportant.
- should be taken into account in ethical decisions because they have feelings like humans.
- deserve natural rights like humans.
Topic 2: The Environment's Importance
- does not affect people significantly.
- is of some importance to people.
- is an
interconnected system of which people and everything else are just interdependent parts.
Topic 3: Humans and Nature
The relationship between people and the environment is that:
- people control the environment and should use it for their purposes.
- people must protect the environment for their own good.
- human beings are only one part of the environment and must respect the rest of it because all living
things have instrinsic value.
A) This philosophy of the Sole Value Assumption
was dominant among many early philosophers and was only challenged in the last centuries. Now, philosophers like Peter Singer would accuse you of "specieism." This option implies that you feel that animals do not have feelings or their feelings are irrelevant.
B) This philosophy developed out of Utilitarianism and might be called
Environmentalism. The idea is that the greatest possible good should be done. To achieve this goal, the well-being of animals must be taken into account.
C) More radical philosophers have suggested that animals deserve the same natural rights as humans. Philosophers such as Tom Regan have created this now popular movement for Animal Rights.
Question 2Social Ecology argues that everything is interconnected. Many Green political parties also take this view.
Many people feel unaffected by the environment and are uninterested in environmental issues. This view would question the value of preserving land, even if it was supposedely down for people's sake.
B) This moderate view of the environment has led many mainstream politicians to make protecting the environment one of their goals. While not ignoring the environment's significance, this group does not see it as a primary concern.
C) The philosophy of
Question 3Anthropocentrism and implies that you accept the Sole Value Assumption.
A) This philosophy is known as
moderate environmental groups stress the importance of protecting the environment so that people can continue to live in it. This perspective may make the Greater Value Assumption as well.
C) This is known as the philosophy of deep ecology. While the idea has roots in ancient religions and philosophies, modern groups such as
EarthFirst! also advocate this view.