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Environmental Philosophy: From Theory to Practice

ISBN: 978-1-118-12140-5
240 pages
November 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Environmental Philosophy: From Theory to Practice (1118121406) cover image


The first comprehensive treatment of environmental philosophy, going beyond ethics to address the philosophical concepts that underlie environmental thinking and policy-making today
  • Encompasses all of environmental philosophy, including conservation biology, restoration ecology, sustainability, environmental justice, and more
  • Offers the first treatment of decision theory in an environmental philosophy text
  • Explores the conceptions of nature and ethical presuppositions that underlie contemporary environmental debates, and, moving from theory to practice, shows how decision theory translates to public policy
  • Addresses both hot-button issues, including population and immigration reform, and such ongoing issues as historical legacies and nations' responsibility and obligation for environmental problems
  • Anchors philosophical concepts to their practical applications, establishing the priority of the discipline's real-world importance
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Acronyms xi

1 Introduction 1

2 What Is the Environment? 13

3 Ethics for the Environment 38

4 From Ethics to Policy 65

5 Biodiversity and Conservation 98

6 Environmental Restoration 130

7 Sustainability 157

8 Justice and Equity 174

9 Where Does This Leave Us? 196

Glossary 202

References 204

Index 219

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Author Information

Sahotra Sarkar specializes in the history and philosophy of science and conservation biology; he helped develop the framework for systematic conservation planning for the protection of biodiversity (as co-author, with Chris Margules, of Systematic Conservation Planning). He also co-edited The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia and A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. He is the author of Doubting Darwin?: Creationist Designs on Evolution (Blackwell), Genetics and Reductionism, Molecular Models of Life, and Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy. He is a professor of Philosophy and Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Sarkar deftly weaves the humanities and ecological science into a convincing argument that environmental conservation and management are social, economic and political, and thus philosophical and cultural, problems as much as they are ecological and biological ones; maybe even more so. Not only students of philosophy should read this book but also conservation biologists. It will enlighten them.

Chris Margules AM, Conservation International

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