The Concept of Paul Taylor’s Biocentric Ethics.
Ethics as an aspect of axiology has always existed strictly as a human affair. This had given rise to the conclusion that human centered ethics, in its conception and articulation is insufficient in the face of the present day environmental problem; since humans neither consider the natural world nor its wild living beings as entity worthy of moral consideration.
With the three main components of Taylor’s ethics, namely: the belief- system, the attitude of respect for nature and the system of rules and principles, the study established the intelligibility and necessity of a life-centered theory of environmental ethics (which also is its main objective) against the prevailing anthropocentric view.
To attain the above stated goal, the work employed the historical and analytical methods, interpretation and argumentation to explore data sourced from books, journals and articles.
The analyses of the work under discussion revealed the following: (i) that it is intelligible to conceive a life-centered theory of environmental ethics similar to human ethics, (ii) It is also a necessity because human ethics is insufficient in our present day environmental problems.
Human claim of superiority over nonhuman living beings could not be philosophically justified (iv) the nonhuman living beings of the natural world have inherent worth of their own, which does depend on their usage in furthering any human end.
Despite the challenges and conflicts inherent in life-centered theory of environmental ethics, the study saw the possibility of adopting Taylor’s biocentric ethics as a means of solving the present day environmental problems and also articulating new environmental concern.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Approval Page ——- — ii
Certification —- — —- iii
Dedication — iv
Acknowledgements — — v
Abstract — viii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study — — 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem —- – 3
1.3 Purpose of the Study —— — 4
1.4 Scope of the Study —— 4
1.5 Significance of the Study —- — — 5
1.6 Methodology —– 6
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Endnotes —— 23
CHAPTER THREE: THE CONCEPT OF PAUL TAYLOR’S BIOCENTRIC ETHICS
3.1 Life and Biocentrism —— 26
3.2 The Critique of Anthropocentric Ethics — — 29
3.3 The Attitude of Respect —- –34
3.4 The Belief System —- — 39
3.5 The System of Rules and Standards – — 48
Endnotes —— 55
CHAPTER FOUR: RESOLVING ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS
4.1 The Nature of these Conflict—- — 59
4.2 The Application of the Priority Principles — – 61
4.3 The Ethics of Bioculture —- 71
4.4 Ethical harmony between Humans and Nonhumans – – 73
Endnotes — 76
CHAPTER FIVE: EVALUATION
5.1 Important Considerations on Taylor’s Biocentric Ethics —- — 78
5.2 The Implications of Taylor’s Biocentric Ethics —- —- – 79
5.3 Challenges to Taylor’s Ethics —- — 84
Summary And Conclusion — — 90
Endnotes —- —- 92
1.1 Background of the Study
In the course of my consideration on what to write on, I came across a book titled The Environmental Ethics Policy Book, edited by Donald VanDeveer and Christine Pierce, which belonged to my supervisor.
Reading from the book the works of Peter Singer and Paul Taylor, on Animal Liberation and Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics respectively, I was relieved to discover that environmental issues have philosophical/ethical dimension.
With the above discovery in mind, I was determined to seek the philosophical and ethical justification of humans in their unrestrained exploitation and abuse of the natural ecosystems.
In this regard, therefore, I found Paul Taylor’s ethics of respect for nature in line, and appropriate for my considerations.
The three elements of Taylor’s concept of environmental ethics that attracted my concern were: the emphasis on Life itself as the prerequisite for moral consideration, the affirmation of the inherent worth instead of Right of living things, and the application of normative principles for fair resolution of conflicts.
Thus, it is pertinent to state here that the above account led me into this research work. Paul Taylor’s concept of environmental ethics resulted from the call for a new ethics, which will account for our moral relation with the natural world.
Anthropocentric Vs Non-Anthropocentric Ethics. Capilano University Open Course Ware Web Site, http://ocw.capilanou.ca/philosophy/phil-208- environmental-ethics/non-anthropocenttric.htm
Attfield, Robin. “Biocentrism, Moral Standing and Moral Significance.” Philosophical 39, 1987
Becker, Gerhold K. “Je suis le Grand Tout: Respect for Nature in the Age of Environmental Responsibility” in Environmental Ethics: Cultural Perspectives,ed. King-Tak Ip. New York: Amsterdam, 2009.
Taylor, Paul. Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.
Taylor, Paul “The Ethics of Respect for Nature” Environmental Ethics Vol. 3, Issue 3, (1981), 197-218.
Taylor, Paul “In Defense of Biocentrism” Environmental Ethics Vol. 5, Issue, 3, Fall (1783), 237-243.
Taylor, Paul “Are Human Superior to Animals and Plants?” Environmental Ethics Vol. 6, Issue 2, Fall (1984), 149-160.
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