Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Ecology Naess Singer I 251
Ecology/Naess, Arne/Singer, P.: (A. Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement", Inquiry 16 (1973), pp. 95-100): Definition Shallow Ecology/Naess: is limited to the traditional framework of ethics: this is about not polluting water, for example, in order to have enough drinking water and to avoid pollution, so that one can continue to enjoy nature. On the other hand,
Definition Deep Ecology/Naess: wants to preserve the biosphere for its own sake, regardless of the potential benefit to mankind.
Deep Ecology/Naess/Singer, P.: thus takes as its subject matter larger units than the individual: species, ecosystems and even the biosphere as a whole.
Deep Ecology: (A. Naess and George Sessions, "Basic Principles of Deep Ecology", Ecophilosophy, 6 (1984) Principles:
1. The wellbeing and development of human and non-human life on earth have a value in itself (intrinsic, inherent value), regardless of the non-human world's use for human purposes.
2. Wealth and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are values in themselves.
3. People do not have the right to diminish the wealth and diversity of the world, except when it comes to vital interests.
Singer I 252
Biosphere/Naess/Sessions/Singer, P.: Sessions and Naess use the term "Biosphere" in a broad sense, so that rivers, landscapes and ecosystems are also included. P. SingerVsNaess: (see also SingerVsSessions): the ethics of deep ecology does not provide satisfactory answers to the value of the life of individuals. Maybe that is the wrong question. Ecology is more about systems than individual organisms. Therefore, ecological ethics should be related to species and ecosystems.
Singer I 253
So there is a kind of Holism behind it. This is shown by Lawrence Johnson (L. Johnson, A Morally Deep World, Cambridge, 1993). Johnson's thesis: The interests of species are different from the sum of individual interests and exist simultaneously together with individual interests within our moral considerations.

Naess I
Arne Naess
Can Knowledge Be Reached? Inquiry 1961, S. 219-227
Wahrheitstheorien, Gunnar Skirbekk Frankfurt/M. 1977

SingerP I
Peter Singer
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011

SingerP II
P. Singer
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015
Ecology Sessions Singer I 252
Ecology/biosphere/George Sessions/Bill Devall/Singer, P.: W. Devall and G. Sessions, Deep Ecology, Living As If Nature Mattered, Salt Lake City (1985): Thesis: The idea of biocentric equality is that all things in the biosphere have the same right to life and the right to their individual development possibilities. All organisms and entities in the ecosphere, as part of a coherent whole, have the same intrinsic value. P. SingerVsSessions, George/P. SingerVsDevall, Bill/Singer, P.: there are strong intuitive objections, for example:
1. That the welfare of adults is more important than the well-being of yeast and that the rights of gorillas are higher than the rights of grass.
2. If humans, gorillas, yeasts and grasses are all parts of a coherent whole, one can still ask why this gives the same intrinsic value to all elements.
a) Even if there is an intrinsic value in the realm of micro-organisms and the plant kingdom, this does not show that individual micro-organisms and individual plants also have an intrinsic value, because their survival as individuals is irrelevant to the survival of the ecosystem as a whole.
b) The fact that all organisms are part of a coherent whole does not show that they all have an intrinsic value, let alone the same intrinsic value.
It could still be that the whole thing has only one value, because it promotes the existence of conscious beings.

Sessions I
George Sessions
Deep Ecology - Living as If Nature Mattered Santa Barbara 1987

SingerP I
Peter Singer
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011

SingerP II
P. Singer
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015