ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND WEAK ANTHROPOCENTRISM NORTON PDF

Bryan G. Norton, a professor of philosophy at Georgia Tech disagrees and has introduced a whole new idea of an environmental ethic, one where the debate over whether an anthropocentric view should be established is not relevant whatsoever. In his mind, individualism versus non-individualism is the crucial distinction that needs to be made. He argues that an individualistic view cannot make up a successful environmental ethic and how the resulting conclusions build an environmental ethic. Norton, a moral ethicist, believes that an environmental ethic cannot be individualistic Norton thinks that the application of traditional value ethics should be applied to the environment. In this, he appeals to practical effectiveness in a world where only so many people advocate for certain ethics, such as the Land Ethic, that may never be accepted by a majority of the population.

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Norton claims that many believe that a rejection of anthropocentrism correlates to the creation of a distinctive set of environmental ethics [2]. However, he feels that this is untrue, as the argument of individualism vs. Norton believes that too much emphasis has been placed on the anthropocentrism debate in regards to environment ethics [4].

He feels that the bases for the argument of anthropocentrism are too vague, and it is difficult to say what truly counts as human interest when analyzing the theory [5]. Norton went on to describe two forms of anthropocentrism, the first being a strongly anthropocentric view that entails a a theory which has values that are supported by references to felt preferences of humans [7].

Essentially, weak anthropocentrism allows for value systems to be judged if they exploit nature, while strong anthropocentrism ignores felt preferences of an individual, and therefore takes away the possibility of criticism of one who exploits nature [9]. Overall, Norton believes that a distinct set of environmental ethics can only be developed when one adopts the values of weak anthropocentrism, as its principles do not have the same exploitive tendencies of strong anthropocentrism [10].

A strong anthropocentric worldview would most likely support the meat industry, as there would be no foreseeable reason to treat animals more humanely, or alter processes that are bad for the environment.

In this circumstance, animals are solely a source of food for humans, and it is justifiable if they are treated as such. However, a weaker anthropocentric worldview would most likely disagree.

Though its principles still put forth the idea that animals and nature lack intrinsic value, it still places an emphasis on living in harmony with the natural world. So, though the principles may allow humans to eat meat as a source of nutrients, the view may also believe that the animals should at least be treated more humanely, so not to be suffering for our own personal gain. Judging from the conditions of meat production, the current state of the issue is not acting in harmony with the natural world, as the values of weak anthropocentrism desire, so it can be concluded that Norton would see the negatives in the industry, and not support commercial agriculture in its current state.

I feel that a strong anthropocentric view employs too little morality and empathy in its determination of what is important. This is, of course, a personal preference, but I feel that in order to heal our world, and ensure a planet that is livable for us and future generations, humans must look to make major changes.

One major change is to move away from looking at animals and the environment as solely a source of production for human consumption, but instead learning to live in harmony with the environment and its inhabitants.

This sort of opinion is supported by weak anthropocentrism. Norton, Bryan. P

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Norton and Weak Anthropocentrism

Environmental Ethics 6 2 Abstract The assumption that environmental ethics must be nonanthropocentric in order to be adequate is mistaken. There are two forms of anthropocentrism, weak and strong, and weak anthropocentrism is adequate to support an environmental ethic. Environmental ethics is, however, distinctive vis-a-vis standard British and American ethical systems because, in order to be adequate, it must be nonindividualistic. Environmental ethics involves decisions on two levels, one kind of which differs from usual decisions affecting individual fairness while the other does not.

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Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

Norton claims that many believe that a rejection of anthropocentrism correlates to the creation of a distinctive set of environmental ethics [2]. However, he feels that this is untrue, as the argument of individualism vs. Norton believes that too much emphasis has been placed on the anthropocentrism debate in regards to environment ethics [4]. He feels that the bases for the argument of anthropocentrism are too vague, and it is difficult to say what truly counts as human interest when analyzing the theory [5]. Norton went on to describe two forms of anthropocentrism, the first being a strongly anthropocentric view that entails a a theory which has values that are supported by references to felt preferences of humans [7]. Essentially, weak anthropocentrism allows for value systems to be judged if they exploit nature, while strong anthropocentrism ignores felt preferences of an individual, and therefore takes away the possibility of criticism of one who exploits nature [9].

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