The Human Relationship to Nature

The Human Relationship to Nature : The Limit of Reason, the Basis of Value, and the Crisis of Environmental Ethics

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Description

Environmental problems compel examination of three contrasting patterns of moral reasoning concerning the human relationship to nature: the currently implemented Progress Ethic, and the proposed alternatives of a Stewardship Ethic and Connection Ethic. But none of these deliver all they promise, whether in theory or practice or both, because all dubiously presume that moral reason is commensurate with nature, and that the value of natural entities is an intrinsic property. Matthew R. Foster argues that resolution of this crisis requires reaching beyond the limit of reason, and acknowledging value to be not a noun, but a verb about the incomparable relation of two entities.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 490 pages
  • 158 x 238 x 32mm | 794g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739164953
  • 9780739164952

Review quote

The human impact on the natural world is ubiquitous and hugely destructive. This has negative consequences for humans but should we be additionally troubled because intrinsic value in nature is thereby destroyed? This book argues that conventional environmental ethics cannot sustain the view that there is intrinsic value in nature because there is a fundamental incommensurability between nature and moral reasoning. What makes this book particularly interesting is its deployment of reasoning to underpin a new approach to environmental ethics in which moral agents freely "choose their environmental responsibilities". Moreover, so the argument goes, a correct understanding of the place of humans in nature. and the relationship between culture and nature, will incline moral agents to choose principles and actions consonant with conventional environmental ethics. This is a compelling idea. Is it defensible? It is definitely worth reading this book to find out. -- Robert Elliot, University of Sunshine Coast This is a philosophical tour de force, creative enough to deserve careful study by specialists, yet clear enough to be followed by undergraduates. Written with clarity, grace and exquisite reasonableness, it provides a subtle, non-coercive account of our responsibility to nature. -- Jerry L. Martin, University of Colorado at Bouldershow more

About Matthew R. Foster

Matthew R. Foster is professor of theology and religious studies at Molloy College.show more

Table of contents

Introduction PART I TASK, TOOLS, AND PLAN Chapter One Task: What Should Be the Human Relationship to Nature? Chapter Two Tools: The Way of Moral Reasoning Chapter Three Plan: Comparative Testing of Three Ethics PART II THREE ETHICS Chapter Four The Progress Ethic Chapter Five The Stewardship Ethic Chapter Six The Connection Ethic PART III THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM AND A PROPOSAL Chapter Seven Assessment: Comparison of Three Ethics Chapter Eight Foundations: The Meta-Ethical Problem in Each Ethic Chapter Nine Foundation: The Shared Meta-Ethical Problem and a Proposal PART IV TOWARD A NEW ETHIC Chapter Ten Sorting Resources Chapter Eleven New Perspectives on Four Variables Chapter Twelve A New Environmental Ethic Appendix The Moral Argument in Four Environmental Ethicsshow more