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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This position holds that what we come to know and value about nature is structured by our human perspective. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. The assumption that environmental ethics must be nonanthropocentric in order to be adequate is mistaken.

By attributing intrinsic value to natural ob jects, Norton notes, two kinds of environmental ethics usually arise, one based on an anthropocentric theory of intrinsic value, wsak another based on a non-anthropocentric theory.

Bryan Norton has challenged this view and has proposed a modified or “weak” anthropocentrism as an ad equate basis for an environmental ethic. Natura and the Burden of Proof. Argument that any environmental ethic must be nonindividualistic. Thus by reference to human values, nat ural entities can be valued. They are held to be in adequate because they cannot provide a consistent, coherent moral de fense of actions taken against nonhuman ent it ies.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

In critiquing Norton’s proposal I will first present a brief gen eral discussion of axiologies based on the traditional anthropocentric theories of intrinsic value, noting briefly some problems for this theory of value; second, I will develop Norton’s own concept of anthropocentris anthro pocentrism as a solution to the problems in the previous theories; and finally, I will critique Norton’s position, showing its strengths and lim its and offer a modification of Norton’s concept that significantly im proves environmenal.

To illustrate his argument, Norton offers the trust fund analogy. These things could be intellectual, aesthetic, moral, spiritual states, or psychological states such as pleasure or hap pine ss.

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A weak anth ropocentrist may claim that some natural entities have only instrumental value, some only an ascribed intrinsic value, and some a mixture of both kinds of value. Anthropocenfrism is aware of the need to reject this reduct ion. Furthermore, anthropocentrism is the belief that every instance of value derives from human value.

Norton assumes that a life amidst plastic trees would be less enriching for hu mans than one lived among live trees, that we would be less human in a moral sense if we rejected moral consideration for nonhumans.

According to Norton, anthropocentrism is the idea that only humans have intrinsic value, and they are the only organisms at the center of this value. He concludes that weak anthropocentrism can meet the adequacy criterion.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism | existjg

Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism. Duckworth,p. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

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

Norton also discusses strong anthropocentrism, which is similar to our previously discussed notion of anthropocentrism. However, Bryan Norton has argued that the “assumption that envi ronmental ethics must be nonanthropocentric in order to be adequate is mistaken.

This position can apply to natural objects as well, for through it an action such as the strip mining could be censured as morally wrong be cause a group of people have rationally decided that the continued un sullied existence of the area is a considered preference of theirs in ac cordance with certain shared ideals. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: First he introduces the conversing ideas of anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism.

And by doing so the power of the weak anthropocentric position stands forth, so much so that many of the nonanthropocentric positions that were examined can be seen as variations of weak anthropocentrism.

History of Western Philosophy. It is therefore no surprise that weak a nt h ropoce n trists reject the reductionistic position popular among utilit arians [ Likewise, many reports confirm that wolves are necessary to regulate the rodent prey problem in Alaska. Therefore, everyone deserves fair treatment and access to environmental goods. It can recapture the intuitive sense of wrongness in the idea that nature has only instrumental value, which the strong ver sion would imply, and posit both kinds of value in nature.


You are commenting using your Facebook account. Nevertheless, even if Norton’s position is expanded in this way, some difficulties still remain.

He goes on to say that we can also say of certain sorts of experiences that they are good environmetnal they contribute to the good life, or be cause if they are included in one’s life they make it intrin sically better[l 1]. 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.

It seems clear to many writers that actions such as the extinction anthropocentrisn various species are wrong, that some kind of respect or consideration by humans to other species is due to them separate from their anthrpocentrism, and that ecological and environmental insights should be taken into account when the mor ality of certain actions is considered, and they then further argue that the inadequacy of the traditional axiologies in dealing with environmen tal issues results from them being based upon anthropocentric concepts of intrinsic value.

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: 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. Norton holds that he has shown that environmental policy makers need not choose between strong anthropocentrism, enviornmental view that nature has value only for fulfilling the demands that our currently misguided society register, and nonanthropocentrism, which posits in trinsic value for nonhuman species.