Moral Pluralism in Environmental Ethics


In issues pertaining to environmental ethics, the environmental pragmatists accept multiple values. They thus take a position of moral pluralism. Moral pluralism is the view that acknowledges the existence of multiple values. In the discussion pertaining to normative ethics, moral pluralism demands the acceptance of more than one value in determining whether an action is ethical or not. Some philosophers like J. Baird Callicott do not support such many value projects and Callicott even terms value pluralism as like ‘metaphysical musical chairs’. Consequently, according to Callicott, the people who subscribe for this moral pluralism rely upon utilitarian for one ethical problem and deontology for another ethical problem and so on. (Callicott, The Case Against Moral Pluralism, 1990). As against moral pluralism Callicott subscribes for single value theory. He insists on the intrinsic value of nature and on the basis of this single value theory, he comes out with a position on environmental ethics in which according to him the whole eco-system should be preserved. In this paper we will argue against this holistic approach in environmental ethics and try to bring some points in support of pragmatic point of view. We will try to show that a context dependent and sensitive pragmatist position is better equipped in addressing the environmental issues than a universal, abstract monistic one.

Author Information
Prabhu Venkataraman, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India
Devartha Morang, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2015
Stream: Ethics - Ethics

This paper is part of the ACERP2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon