Ecocentrism: Leopold’s Land Ethic
Read the introduction to Chapter 6 on holism. We are moving beyond individual organisms to environmental wholes. Remember to please try to determine where you stand regarding the main theories of environmental ethics. As we go, the theories become broader and more things have moral status and intrinsic moral value, not just humans (only humans = anthropocentrism). See the explanation that I created on the development of environmental ethics if you haven’t already done that. Find my explanations in the top folder on the assignments page.
Textbook: Louis Pojman and Paul Pojman, Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application. Seventh Edition
(A) Aldo Leopold, “Ecocentrism: The Land Ethic,” (p. 237 in 7th Ed)
(B) J. Baird Callicott, “The Conceptual Foundations of the Land Ethic,” (p. 248 in 7th Ed.)
Please answer the following questions about the readings.
(A) Four Questions about Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.
1. In your own words, explain and summarize the main ideas in the section “The Ecological Conscience.” Give some complaints that he has, too.
2. In your own words, explain and summarize the main ideas in the section “Substitutes for a Land Ethic.” Again, include complaints that he has.
3. In your own words, explain the land pyramid idea in the section “The Land Pyramid.” Explain his complaints, too.
4. In the last section he says, “…to release the evolutionary process for an ethic is simply this: Quit thinking about decent land-use as solely an economic problem. Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
One thing he says is that the environment is worth more than just how much money (economics) we can make off of it. Do you agree or disagree with any of Leopold’s views that you have read? What exactly do you agree or disagree with. Defend your claims with reasons. Explain why or why not.
B. Three Questions about J. Baird Callicott, “The Conceptual Foundations of the Land Ethic”
1. Callicott explains Leopold’s land ethic. Read sections VII, VIII, and IX. Callicott explains the central theoretical difference between standard ethical theory and Leopold’s new land ethic. Please understand and explain this central difference, and explain why you think this new change is important or not. Why or why not?
2. In section XI, Callicott explains why some philosophers react in “horror” at Leopold’s land ethic. Following Callicott, explain the problem that some philosophers see with the land ethic.
3. In the last section XII, Callicott explains why this “horror” with Leopold’s land ethic is unjustified. What does Callicott say to answer this worry? And is Callicott successful? Does it make sense to you? Why or why not? Give reasons for your views.
Please include all the questions with the answers thank you.
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