PHIL 224, Week 5

Assignment 2 is due Oct. 27. Instructions.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Consequentialist arguments against

  1. Health dangers
  2. Control of agriculture by a few large companies, e.g. Monsanto
  3. Loss of genetic diversity leading to future disasters

Consequentialist arguments for

  1. Reduce world hunger
  2. Increase profits for farmers

Rights & duties arguments against

  1. Farmers lose right to buy seeds

Rights & duties arguments for

  1. Farmers have right to use products they think are best.

Environmental Defence (DeMarco)

Is nature a resource?

Yes: humans need to make optimal use of nature for current and future generations. Resourcism.

No: nature needs to be protected for its own sake.

Practical consequences?

Should environmental ethics come from the heart or the mind?


Leopold: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community."

Treat nature as a whole, not just a bunch of parts to be exploited.

Holism vs. reductionism vs. multilevelism.

Deep Ecology (Naess)

  1. Relational total-field image of nature, not human-in-environment.
  2. Ecological egalitarianism.
  3. Diversity & symbiosis.
  4. Anti-class.
  5. Fight against pollution and resource depletion.
  6. Local autonomy and decentralization.

Ethical Guidelines for Parks (Stefanovic)

Ethical dilemma: reconcile ecocentric and anthropocentric views.

Should provincial and national parks be preserved for their own sake or for future generations? Does it matter?

Does having a code of ethics help or hinder environmental protection?

Private Market Conservation Strategies (Greenbaum)

Government tools for conserving natural heritage

  1. Acquire lands
  2. Regulate private landowners
  3. Use tax measures to provide incentives

Ethical advantages of market-based approaches

  1. Liberty
  2. Fairness
  3. Economic efficiency.

Dangers of market-based approaches

  1. Side-effects: externalities.
  2. Inequalities: assymetries of power.
  3. Tragedy of the commons: Everyone is worse off.
  4. Freedom from control by others vs. freedom to do things.
  5. Nature is unpriceable.

Review Questions for Week 5 (updated Oct. 21)

  1. What are 4 reasons why deMarco is opposed to anthropocentrism?
  2. How does deep ecology differ from resourcism? Explain both, describing at least 4 features of deep ecology.
  3. According to Stefanovic, what are 3 advantages and 2 disadvantages of having codes of ethics for parks?
  4. What does Greenbaum think are 3 major disadvantages of market-based approaches to conservation? Explain each.
  5. Essay: Taking both consequences and rights into account, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of governmental and non-governmental approaches to conserving nature. Your essay should include:
    1. statement of at least two alternatives
    2. consequences pro and con, and evaluation
    3. rights and duties, pro and con, and evaluation
    4. overall evaluation.

Phil 224

Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Oct. 21, 2011