Institution Date Biocentric Egalitarianism and Land Ethic Biocentrism holds that we recognize and value non-human beings in our moral considerations. One of the questions facing biocentric egalitarianism is whether we should uphold consideration of moral duty to respect nature or whether we should allow this consideration to be overridden when faced with unavoidable need to exploit nature…
Biocentric egalitarianism advocates for the respect of non-human beings based on moral principles and values. These views reflect similar arguments that humans depend on nature to survive and thus the earth would be a better place without humans (Jonge 23). However, a critical analysis suggests that the moral duty to respect nature can conflict other moral duties. Kantian Moral Philosophy One example where duty to respect can conflict other moral duties is the application of Kant’s theory about animal rights. Kantian moral philosophy asserts that animals are mere instruments, which may be used for human purpose (Korsgaard 3). According Korsgaard, Kant’s point of view about legal rights is not to protect human interests, but to enable each citizen to act justly and for what is good. Kant’s moral philosophy underlines that non-rational animals lack the kind of freedom that rights protect. In particular, it is because human beings are rational beings that they are able to choose how they want to live (5). However, Kant’s philosophy extends the rights held by human beings to include property rights. According to Kant we have the moral obligation to claim property including animals, and the legal status of such animals is the direct correlate of their moral status as mere means (instruments) (5). Further, according to Kant, we have no moral duty to animals. In contrast, biocentrism upholds the need to make moral consideration towards non-human species. From this perspective, the conflict between Kant’s moral philosophy and the duty to respect nature as maintained by non-anthropocentric ethical position remains apparent with regard to animal rights. To resolve the conflict between Kant’s theory and biocentrism regarding animal rights, it is important to address the interpretation problems associated with the humanity formula. This is especially because faced with such a situation would require one to decide to follow the humanity formulary as applied by Kant or to stick with the rationality formulary defined in biocentrism. Libertarianism Another example of a conflict between non-anthropocentric ethical position about duty to respect nature and other moral duties is the issue of ‘forest justice’ as seen in the lenses of libertarianism. According to libertarianism, forests and indeed biodiversity, has value only to the extent that it contributes to the expansion of individual freedom (Holsinka 3). The ‘forest justice’ can be illustrated by attempts by governments to transfer property rights to local communities to enable them benefit from forest resources. In anthropocentric ethical philosophy, human beings are viewed as separate identities based on self-interest and altruistic humanism. According to Kopnina, anthropocentrism grants intrinsic value to human beings. On the other hand, biocentrism emphasizes on the intrinsic value for ecosystems including humans, plant and animal species. This disconnect represents a broader inconsistency within the fields of environmental conservation. The main concern is that support for environmental conservation appears to be motivated by utilitarian and instrumental ethics. Just like biodiversity, we place value on forests because we think we might need it, we like it or we ought to. Non-anthropocentric ethical position would emphasize on the instrumental value of forests-that ...
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