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Environmental Ethics: An Overview for the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-7456-8228-0
278 pages
April 2014, Polity
Environmental Ethics: An Overview for the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition (0745682286) cover image

Description

In this clear, concise, comprehensively revised and up-to-date introduction to environmental ethics, Robin Attfield guides the student through the key issues and debates in this field in ways that will also be of interest to a wide range of scholars and researchers.

The book introduces environmental problems and environmental ethics and surveys theories of the sources of the problems. Attfield also puts forward his own original contribution to the debates, advocating biocentric consequentialism among theories of normative ethics and defending objectivism in meta-ethics. The possibilities of ethical consumerism and investment are discussed, and the nature and basis of responsibilities for future generations in such areas as sustainable development are given detailed consideration. Attfield adopts an inclusive, cosmopolitan perspective in discussions of global ethics and citizenship, and illustrates his argument with a discussion of global warming, mitigation, adaptation and global justice.

The revised edition features a new chapter on climate change, new treatments of animal issues, ecofeminism, environmental aesthetics, invasion biology and virtue ethics, and new applications of the precautionary principle to fisheries, genetic engineering and synthetic biology. The glossary and bibliography have been updated to assist understanding of these themes.

The text uses a range of devices to aid understanding, such as summaries of key issues, and guides to further reading and relevant websites. It has been written particularly with a view to the needs of students taking courses in environmental ethics, and will be of interest to students and scholars of philosophy, ethics, geography, religion and environmental studies.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

List Of Abbreviations

Author's Preface

1. Environmental Problems And Humanity

Introduction: Environmental Problems And The Global Environment

Local And Global Environmental Problems

Animal Welfarism And Environmentalism

Theories Of Value

Environmental Ethics And Its Neighbours

Theories Of The Genesis Of The Problems

Human Stewardship Of Nature

But Is Caring About The Environment Really Possible?

2. Some Central Debates

Dominion And Stewardship

A Recent Critique

The Emergence Of Environmental Ethics In The Early 1970s

Holism, Anthropocentrism And Biocentrism Compared

Biocentric Consequentialism

Alternative Theories

Meta-Ethical Debates

3. Some Critiques Of Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics, Motivation And The Good Life

There Is More To Ethics Than These Promising Approaches Allow

There Is More To Human Motivation Too

Can Environmental Ethics Make A Difference?

Can Values Contribute To Change?

Does A Consequentialist Environmental Ethic Have Unacceptable Implications?

Would Biocentric Consequentialism Preserve Enough Species?

4. Taking The Future Seriously

The Scope And Limits Of Future-Related Responsibilities

Some Bases For Future-Related Responsibilities

Some Grounds For Restricting Future-Related Responsibilities

Restricting Future-Related Responsibilities By Discounting

Do Human Interests And Environmental Responsibilities Converge?

Saving The Future From Environmental Injustice

Representing The Future In Present Decision-Making

5. Sustainable Development, Population And Precaution

The Concept Of Sustainable Development

Debates About Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development And The Debate About Sustainability

Sustainable Development Policies And Sustainable Development

Population, Neo-Malthusianism, Justice And Sustainability

The Precautionary Principle

Sustainable Development And Liberal Democracy

6. The Global Community And Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship And A Cosmopolitan Ethic

Varieties Of Global Citizenship And Cosmopolitan Ethic

The Common Heritage Of Humankind

Issues Of Global Governance

Global Warming: Principles For A Possible Agreement

Global Problems, Global Ethics And Global Decision-Making

7. The Ethics of Climate Change

Glossary Of Key Terms

Bibliography

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Author Information

Robin Attfield is Professor of Philosophy at Cardiff University.
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New to This Edition

New Chapter (7) on the ethics of Global Warming, and substantial revisions throughout the text
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Covers a huge amount of literature in a clear and readable way, making it an ideal student resource
  • Discusses the possibilities of ethical consumerism and ethical investment as practical expressions of an environmental ethic.
  • Introduces readers to the key contemporary debates in environmental ethics, including sustainability, environmental stewardship, biocentrism and global governance
  • Includes original contributions to the issues from this leading scholar of environmental ethics.
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Reviews

"Robin Attfield has always been good at bringing together the fragmented, and sometimes quarrelsome, assemblies of campaigners who (somewhat desperately) strive to protect our planet. Here he does it again, wisely pointing out how many different reasons there are for attempting this enterprise and how they can most usefully be combined ... Congratulations!"
Mary Midgley

"This is clearly the best introductory book in environmental ethics to date."
Dieter Birnbacher, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf

"Attfield, for decades a leading figure in the field, continues at the forefront with his second edition.  Here is further proof that environmental ethics is alive, well, challenging, and urgent on Earth."
Holmes Rolston, III, Colorado State University
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