Essay about Kant's Principle and Environmental Ethics

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Kant's Principle and Environmental Ethics



1. All of the three approaches to environmental ethics use Kant's principle to various extents. The differences between them lie in their individual definitions of moral categories. It's like looking at the same slide under three different powers on a microscope. Each approach relies on Kant's principle to protect the interest of that which they deem worthy.
Baxter's anthropocentric approach clearly states that our obligations regarding the environment are to be determined solely on the basis of human interests. Our welfare depends on breathable air, drinkable water and edible food. Thus, polluting the environment to the extent that it damages the air, water and land is unacceptable
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Another adjustment to the microscope, and we can examine Leopold's biocentric opinion of how environmental ethics should be governed. His approach enlarges the moral category to include soils, waters, plants and animals and claims our obligation is to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. Philosophers Devall and Sessions further define the biocentric view with the concept of deep ecology. Devall and Sessions argue that "the well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes." (503)
2. Autonomy and liberty have almost the same definitions and I believe that both Nielson and Hospers were trying to convey the same point, but at the same time have different views of the two shown by the context they used them in. Nielson states, "An autonomous person is a person who is able to set her ends for herself and in optimal circumstances is able to pursue those ends". (359) In Hospers explanation of his second classification of human rights, the right to liberty, he states "there should be no laws compromising in any way freedom of speech…There should be no censorship…by government". (353) Comparing these two interpretations, we see that both are essentially stating that a person has the right to do anything they please, and in the case of liberty, the right…