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Examination of the Environmental Crisis

by Chris Jones Kavelin

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2: An Examination of the Value of Nature in Environmental Philosophy

In practice the ultimate challenge of environmental ethics is the

conservation of life on earth. In principle the ultimate challenge is a value

theory profound enough to support that ethic. We need an account of how

nature carries value, and an ethics that appropriately respects those


While there is a growing concern to mitigate the natural global catastrophes that pursue humanity, on global, regional, national and local levels, management practices currently in place tend to reduce the reality of nature to the concerns of primarily economic or legal definition. In this framework, which is narrowly anthropocentric[146] and more importantly, in which only humans possess intrinsic value, the value of nature is only that which is given to it by humans. Which generally means that the component parts of nature are only as valuable as the resources they provide for human consumption are judged to be by the current economic climate. In such a system, those components of nature that provide no obvious resource are of no value. Admittedly, there is a general awareness in most, but not all cultures, that humans should avoid totally removing those elements of nature that have no immediate obvious resource value. However this is generally considered only in the interests of human consumption and resource potential. Firstly, this represents anticipation that a future value may be found, and secondly, there is awareness that the "balance" of the ecosystem is likely to be altered, and then elements of nature which do have value may be negatively affected.

At the very minimum level of expression[147], the central problem with this anthropocentric criterion of value is the arbitrary standard of its distribution of value in nature, as well as the 'insecurity of its guarantees for the welfare or flourishing of non-human beings'[148]. Not only are those beings, which have no apparent value in this system, not safeguarded, but the myriad of creatures we have yet to discover are afforded no protection. Even what is given value today may gain a negative value when future economic variables change[149], and thereby lose its protective status.

Many within the environmental ethics movement, particularly those within the animal rights and welfare groups, see this anthropocentric focus and subsequent arbitrary objectification of nature as the root cause of many of the ills affecting the earth's ecosystems, and the ultimate threat to life on earth. It should be noted that the postulated causes of ecological devastation are numerous. If the freedom to generalize the radical ecological movements is permitted, without a digression into the diversity of sub-disciplines, then it can be stated that deep ecology postulates anthropocentrism as the root cause; social ecology postulates a dysfunctional social hierarchical structure; while ecofeminism critiques the parallel relationship between the variety of principles governing the dualistic domination and objectification of male over female with the same principles governing the domination and objectification of humanity over nature.

In response to these concerns, a number of schools of thought have developed which propose various models of intrinsic value within nature. An examination of the full range of these theories regarding intrinsic theory is not possible due to the limitations of this thesis. However, a number of representational concepts will be discussed. An analysis of what is considered their strengths and deficiencies from a perspective of the proposed Bahá'í model will be reserved for the end of this section.

Ironically, a group of concepts related to intrinsic value which very closely resembles certain aspects of the Bahá'í Faith's vision, is not found among the plethora of modern models that are currently proposed, but is found in the medieval period with that of Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). This is due to

his appreciation of the diversity of creation and his recognition of the unique value of every creature.[150].

And more importantly because of his

...emphasis on the presence of God in the diversity of created beings, and his desire that humans should rejoice in this diversity and glorify God for it and with it, and act in ways consistent with respect for it.[151]

Although it is debatable how similar his understanding of the presence of God in the diversity of created beings was to that of the Bahá'í one, that of all beings possessing specific and unique 'names of God' or spiritual attributes. It is possible that he did regard

...animals and plants as symbolic of virtues, vices, and doctrines.[152]

However Hughes finds this opinion 'problematic' and indicates that,

Francis remarked on the symbolism of creatures that he encountered, but his comments were simple and biblically based.[153]

It is important to acknowledge Francis of Assisi as a prelude to examining the Bahá'í model. This is because of his unique focus on celebrating the diversity of creation as manifesting the presence of God, as well as the potential to see individuals and species as symbolic of aspects of God's Being, which is similar to the Bahá'í vision of nature. As well, Francis of Assisi by his example lived a life of 'theocentric stewardship' which was one of fellowship, respect, love, celebration, awe and humility. As will be seen, this is similar to the Bahá'í critique of 'stewardship' in regard to the particular virtues that humanity is called upon to practice in their relationship with creation.

Someone else within the Franciscan order who expanded on the theme of the diversity of creation as manifesting the presence of God was Bonaventure (1221-74).

Bonaventure inherited from Pseudo-Dionysius the axiom that goodness is self-diffusive (bonum diffusivum sui), and this becomes a key metaphysical principle underlying his theology of the trinity and of creation. If goodness is self-diffusive, then God, the highest good, will be most radically self-diffusive and fecund.[154] As such the dynamic fecundity in creation points to the boundless fecundity of trinitarian life.[155]

For Bonaventure, the nature of this self-diffusion of God leads to the realization that creatures are nothing less than a kind of representation of the Wisdom of God, and a kind of sculpture[156] and that every creature is of its very nature a likeness and resemblance to eternal wisdom.[157]

Bonaventure also uses the metaphor of God's goodness as light, manifested in its diverse spectrum within creation. As a ray of light entering through a window is colored in different ways according to the different colors of the various parts, so the divine ray shines forth in each and every creature in different ways and in different properties.[158]

A second concept which Bonaventure introduces also has great similarities to the Bahá'í model.

For Bonaventure, then, the universe is a book which can be read, a book whose words reveal the Creator...We humans, if it were not for the distortion of sin, would be able to read the book of creation and come to know God. In fact, fallen human beings are like illiterates with little appreciation of the book that lies open before them. They need a second book of the Scriptures to read the book of the universe.[159]

In the words of Bonaventure himself, the

First Principle created this perceptible world as a means of self-revelation so that, like a mirror (speculum) or a footprint (vestigium), it might lead the human being to love and praise God the artisan.[160]

As will be discussed later in the thesis this has remarkable similarities to a number of passages in the Bahá'í writings.[161]

Moving on to the modern era, one of the first persons to have a concern for overly anthropocentric models of environmental ethics was Aldo Leopold. With his famous dictum

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.[162]

Combined with his clear awareness of ecological interdependence, Leopold raises a concept which opens the door to the criticism of anthropocentrism, and to the consideration of more biocentric and ecocentric models. And while Leopold did not write from a contemporary philosophical perspective, at the most minimal level his work did implicitly indicate a critique of 'dysfunctional' anthropocentrism. Requiring, at the very least, a prudential heightening of enlightened self-interest based on knowledge of such interdependence[163]. It may be argued that this requires a deontological response in developing a sense of obligation toward the wider biotic community through such an extension of enlightened conscience. Towards this self-enlightenment Leopold expresses concern for the trends in modernization, particularly in the process of education and economic development, where human hyperseparation from nature is on the increase.

Perhaps the most serious obstacle impeding the evolution of a land ethic is the fact that our educational and economic system is headed away from, rather than toward, an intense consciousness of land. Your true modern is separated from the land by many middlemen, and by innumerable physical gadgets. He had no vital relation to it; to him it is the space between cities on which crops grow.[164]

In summarizing the effect Leopold's land ethic has upon anthropocentrism, it might still be called a moderate, but self-enlightened form of anthropocentrism[165] within a framework of egalitarian ecocentrism wherein the biotic community attains the obligation of moral considerability through an extension of our social conscience.

In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo Sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.[166]

The modern concern for overly anthropocentric models of philosophy, in relation to ecology, appears to have registered most significantly as a concept in the academic world, initiating debate and inciting public interest, in the early 1970's. Criticism was levied at the inadequacy of the philosophical ethical models when applied to the relationship between humanity and nature, and cries of 'human chauvinism'[167] and 'speciesism'[168] rang out. The first of these responses, which will be briefly examined, are those of Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Kenneth Goodpaster, and Paul Taylor. These particular views are within the general framework of the philosophical response of 'environmental ethics'.

These initial works, in relation to intrinsic value, tended to propose models of ethical extensionism, and whose application was achieved via dialogue about what human qualities, which were shared by animals[169], that should be considered to represent the lowering of the benchmark of 'moral considerability'.

It is not intended to conflate the meanings of 'intrinsic value' and 'moral considerability'. The definitions of these two terms in this thesis are similar to those noted by Rick O'Neill[170]. The term 'intrinsic value' is used in the sense of involving a thing's good.

By intrinsic value I mean noninstrumental value, the value a thing has in itself, as opposed to the value it has as a means to some good.[171].

While 'Moral Standing'

... refers to an entity's membership in the moral know x has moral standing is to know we must take x's interests into account as a matter of right[172], that x is a matter of moral concern.[173]

So while all beings may possess some form of intrinsic value, they may or may not posses an intrinsic value of sufficient merit which meets the criteria of moral considerability proposed by a model[174]. Note however that these definitions by O'Neill are not considered absolute definitions of these terms[175], and are context dependent. But in the context of the concern for an exclusivist and dysfunctional anthropocentrism within the context of environmental ethics, they can be interpreted at face value.

There are a range of standards of value that can be applied to nature. From a materialist view of nature as an object whose value is completely dependent on the needs and desires of humanity, to an uncritical egalitarian pansychism[176] that attributes feelings and equal value to all the parts of nature.

Within an animal rights framework, Peter Singer used sentience[177] as the intrinsic value benchmark combined with the utilitarian value theory that pleasure is good and pain is evil, and therefore expanded the circle of moral considerability to those animals which possessed this capacity. Regarding this position, J. Baird Callicott writes,

Classical Utilitarianism insisted upon the impartial accounting of pleasures and pains, but arbitrarily limited that accounting to the pleasures and pains of human beings. Remove this ad hoc limitation, and voila!, one has animal liberation.[178]

Tom Regan, illustrating the limitations of moral considerability based within a utilitarian framework, writes that its deficiency lies in

...that there is no necessary connection, no pre-established harmony between respect for the equality of interests principle and promoting the utilitarian objective of maximizing the balance of good over bad. On the contrary, the principle of utility might be used to justify the most radical kinds of differential treatment between individuals and groups of individuals, and thus it might justify forms of racism and sexism, [and speciesism]...[179]

Regan also attempts to illustrate the deficiencies of classical cases against cruelty to animals. He proposes that Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant and John Locke argue against cruelty, not for the sake of any value given to the animal, but because of apprehension it

...inclines them to treat humans similarly.[180]

Regan quotes Locke,

For the Custom of Tormenting and Killing of Beasts, will, by Degrees, harden their Minds even towards Men; and they who delight in the Suffering and Destruction of Inferior Creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate, or benign to those of their own kind.[181]

Regan then goes on to propose his own solution of animal rights based upon an extension of what he sees as the inherent value of humans. This inherent value Regan proposes exists because

...logically independently of the interest of others, each individual is the subject of a life that is better or worse for that individual. Because of the type of value that human beings have, it is wrong (a sign of disrespect and a violation of rights) to treat humans as if they had value merely as a means (e.g., to use humans merely to advance the pleasures of the group). In particular, to harm human beings for the sake of the profit or pleasure of any group is to violate their right not to be harmed.[182]

Regan does not specify the range of animals this applies to, but states it applies to all animals which display the intrinsic value defined as 'subjects of a life that is better or worse for them.'[183], and he states that the animals which this applies to are 'numerous'.

Kenneth E. Goodpaster argued that sentience is a means to life rather than an end in itself.

Biologically, it appears that sentience is an adaptive characteristic of living organisms that provides them with a better capacity to anticipate, and so avoid, threats to life. This at least suggests...that the capacities to suffer and to enjoy are ancillary to something more important rather than tickets to considerability in their own right.[184]

He therefore proposed a minimalistic ethical criteria in which 'being alive' becomes the benchmark for moral considerability.

As far as I can see, X's being a living thing is both necessary and sufficient for moral considerability so understood, whatever may be the case for the moral rights that rational agents should acknowledge.[185]

Paul Taylor primarily focuses on the inherent worth rather than discussing the issue of moral considerability or the rights of non-humans. He proposes a biocentric model in which all beings are telelogical, or purpose oriented, centres of life.

...conscious or not, all are equally teleological centres of life in the sense that each is a unified system of goal-oriented activities directed toward their preservation and well-being.[186]

Taylor analyses what he considers to be the philosophical and religious reasons behind the human assumption of superiority over nature and concludes it is expression of an irrational and self-serving prejudice that favors one particular species over several million others.[187]

Taylor believes that rejecting the superstition of human superiority leads directly to accepting that all beings possess the same level of inherent worth[188].

Rejecting the notion of human superiority entails its positive counterpart: the doctrine of species impartiality. One who accepts that doctrine regards all living things as possessing inherent worth-the same inherent worth, since no one species has been shown to be either 'higher' or 'lower' than any other.[189]

This same attitude he suggests leads to a natural, biocentric oriented respect for all living things.[190]

Just as the previous models mentioned respond to the problems of exclusivist anthropocentric philosophy and concerns for the ill treatment of non-humans, deep ecology also responds. However, there is a decisive shift away from ethics, moral consideration and rights. Rather, deep ecology attempts to facilitate a shift from the 'self' towards the 'Self'. That is, a movement from that of the selfish ego to a 'wider identification' of self with other species, ecosystems and the whole ecosphere. It does this by focusing on a critique of ontology, with the intention of fostering spiritual and psychological maturity and enlightenment and thereby causing a corresponding change of perception and comprehension to achieve 'right action' in the human/nature relationship.

George Sessions highlights, from a deep ecology perspective, the reasons why a move from the speculations on intrinsic value in ecophilosophy to the more comprehensive vision of deep ecology is necessary:

It now appears that an overall broad consensus is now emerging on these issues among ecophilosophers and professional ecologists to the effect that modern moral theory cannot be extended to cover adequately ecological situations: that nonhuman individuals, species and ecosystems have equal inherent value or worth along with humans; and that a new postmodern nonconsumerist sustainable society is required based on an ecocentric worldview.[191]

Of course these statements are highly debatable, particularly as to whether there is a

'overall broad consensus...among ecophilosophers and professional ecologists...' about any of these assumptions. A cursory review of any recent environmental philosophy journal, or the publications of anthologies intended for undergraduate introductions to the field, clearly indicate a definite diversity of opinions on all of these assumptions[192].

Instead of biocentric egalitarianism, that of considering the equal worth and/or rights of all individual entities, deep ecology attempts a holistic perspective of ecological or ecocentric egalitarianism, representing a greater focus on the internal interrelatedness of ecosystems .

Arne Naess makes a statement which highlights why deep ecology focuses upon a deep shift of vision towards a wider ecological identification with all of nature, rather than upon establishing a criteria of qualities that obligates moral considerability and a duty of attendant rights:

Within fifty years, either we will need a dictatorship to save what is left of the diversity of life forms, or we will have a shift of values, a shift of our total view such that no dictatorship will be needed.[193]

In other words, rather than imposing externally enforced obligations (rights and duties) upon individuals to respect other living things, deep ecology focuses on the internalization and self-enlightenment of broad ecological principles through a process of education, such that the behavior is a choice and natural response of the individual.

Naess proposes that all life on Earth has value in itself and he continually places value on diversity of species. Representing the first of his proposed 8 basic principles of deep ecology, Naess states:

The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have value in themselves (synonymous: intrinsic value, inherent worth). These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes.[194]

Naess qualifies this statement and indicates that

The term "life" is used here in a more comprehensive non-technical way to refer to what biologists classify as "non-living": rivers (watersheds), landscapes, ecosystems.[195]

This understanding of intrinsic value represents a model which is ecospheric (global), unqualifed in its universal egalitarian vision, and non-anthropogenic, that is, it considers intrinsic value as independently objective, (in itself and of itself) and not generated by

...any awareness, interest, or appreciation of it by any conscious being[196]

Callicott finding Leopold's land ethic to be 'just what the doctor ordered', and considering it to be 'a touchstone, a seminal classic', has attempted to

flesh out the arguments which Leopold himself only evoked and to connect his ideas, especially his ethical ideas, with the antecedants in the history of Western philosophy echoing in his rich literary allusions.[197]

Callicott has presented an outline of his proposed conceptual and logical foundations of the land ethic:

Its conceptual elements are a Copernican cosmology, a Darwinian protosociobiological natural history of ethics, Darwinian ties of kinship among all forms of life on Earth, and an Eltonian model of the structure of biocenoses all overlaid on a Humean-Smithian moral psychology.[198]

The Copernican and Eltonian elements facilitate a vision of 'filial affection' by shifts in both spatial and structural perspectives.

The Copernican element mentioned by Callicott refers to a perspective which sees the earth as isolated in an 'utterly hostile universe beyond'. Callicott proposes this isolated and remote perspective enhances our

sense of kinship, community, and interdependence with fellow denizens of the Earth household.[199]

The Eltonian element refers to Charles Elton and his ecological model of diverse species occupying specialized niches within the 'intricate corporate society' of the ecosphere. This is where he claims Leopold's concept of an interdependent biotic community finds its source.

Callicott gives a definition of intrinsic value that is anthropogenic while being nonhomeocentric[200]. This model of intrinsic value rather than focusing on specific criteria for intrinsic value in individuals, develops a theory of moral considerability in which intrinsic value is extended to the wider ecospheric community. Callicott writes

the biotic community owns what Leopold...calls "value in the philosophical sense" – i.e., direct moral considerability- because it is a newly discovered proper object of a specially evolved "public affection" or "moral sense" which all psychologically normal human beings have inherited from a long line of ancestral social primates.[201]

This value is 'discovered' neither by theology or philosophy, nor by the use of reason[202]. Rather, value is a social-biological product of evolution as seen in the 'Darwinian protosociobiological natural history of ethics'. To summarize, value is the result of biological evolution through the social extension of moral considerability, or as Darwin terms it, 'filial affections' and 'sympathy'. This is done in order to increase the 'inclusive fitness' of its members. This concept is linked by Callicott with David Hume and Adam Smith where ethics rest upon feelings or sentiments. Callicott writes that

according to their analysis, moral value is not identified with a natural quality objectively present in morally consderable beings-as reason and/or sentiency is objectively present in people and/or animals-it is, as it were, projected by valuing subjects.[203]

Elsewhere he writes,

Now, as Hume observed, not only have we sympathy for our fellows, we also are naturally endowed with a sentiment, the proper object of which is society itself.[204]

This is how value for Callicott is both anthropogenic and nonhomeocentric. It is anthropogenic in that value is created by the valuing subject and nonhomeocentric in that is represents a form of relational ontology rather than an individualistic one, as value is

the projection of filial affections onto wider circles of social networks.

Callicott indicates this extension of social conscience or filial affection to include the ecosphere is not only an 'ecological necessity' but an 'evolutionary possibility',

because a moral response to the natural environment-Darwin's social sympathies, sentiments, and instincts translated and codified into a body of principles and precepts-would automatically be triggered in human beings by ecology's social representation of nature...therefore, the key to the emergence of a land ethic is, simply, universal ecological literacy.[205]

In other words, this natural evolutionary process of moral extension can be anticipated and facilitated by stimulating awareness of its necessity through the vehicle of education.

Elsewhere, Callicott states the need for "ecological literacy" in a more minimalistic and simple fashion,

...we badly need a positive conservation ideal, a dream, to inspire us and direct our efforts...[206]

Social ecology, sometimes referred to as 'political ecology', is a complex philosophy.

Foremost among social ecologists is Murray Bookchin. While not all social ecologists agree with all he has to say[207], he is the most commonly cited by other social ecologists when referring to foundational ideas within social ecology.

Bookchin writes,

...the idea of dominating nature has its primary source in the domination of human by human and the structuring of the natural world into a hierarchical Chain of Being.[208]

Within the concerns of this essay, his political and social critique are not as important as those elements which bear a direct relation to intrinsic value theory so only a simple summary is possible of those particular elements related to his proposed solutions to inter-human domination.

In the social ecology critique of this 'domination of human by human' one can note elements of the marxist critique of the exploitive economic structures of capitalism as a source of ecological degradation. Capitalism itself, along with other increasingly centralized, western, political structures are seen as symptomatic of a dysfunctional model of human relationships. In this model of humanity, there is a clear hierarchy of dominant/subordinate relationships. These oppressive hierarchies, white/black, male/female, rich/poor, young/old, objectify those humans who fall into the subordinate categories, who are then denied freedom and self-determination.

The injustice of this is what lies at the foundation of exploitive environmental relationships. As such, the focus of social ecology is upon a revolution of these dysfunctional social and political structures towards more classic egalitarian forms found partly in the Greek democratic concept of the polis.

From a political structural perspective, he proposes a move towards accountable municipal assemblies elected by local communities linked together in bioregional confederate systems[209]. The purpose of this structure is to facilitate freedom in its best form: that of self-determination; as well as restoring the classical idea of citizenship: that of 'a lifelong, ethically oriented education to participation in public affairs' and

the cultivation of an affiliation with the interests of the community, one in which the communal interest was placed above personal interest, or, more properly, in which the personal interest was congruent with and realized through the common.[210]

For Bookchin, intrinsic value can be seen in the evolutionary self-determination of the natural world towards more sophisticated unity in diversity, and towards the goal of self-awareness, of which human beings are representative. The dysfunctional human structures are seen to be out of alignment with this overall purpose.

Here implicit elements of Aristotelian teleology, and similar components of Teilhard de Chardin vision of spiritual evolution, can be seen, although Bookchin never explicitly admits telelogy as part of his vision. This is perhaps because he is aware that a universe predisposed towards a purpose is held in tension with his primary concern of self-determination. As well, he does not see evolution in the Hegelian sense of Geist, that of it eventually reaching an 'Absolute', but rather this evolution is continual and open ended.

Political and economic structures not only need to be in harmony with this principle, but should be structured so as to facilitate its process of emergent value. Humanity, as the emergent consciousness of nature, is responsible to use this consciousness by 'diminishing the impact of natural catastrophes, and promoting the thrust of natural evolution through its technics, science, and rationality.'[211]

The other element in social ecology which is significant towards the consideration of intrinsic value is the subjective location of value within the valuer. Humans as the only known components of nature possessing intellect and reason are the valuer of nature. There is a sort of objective intrinsic value in the whole as the previously mentioned evolutionary process, but there is no intrinsic value in life itself.[212] Ultimately, even this emergent value seen in the evolutionary process of facilitating unity and diversity, freedom, higher consciousness, and the ultimate value of self-determination, is a subjective value located in the perception of the human.

Concerning ecofeminism, there are a variety of sophisticated approaches to ecological ethics, and it is beyond the descriptive capacity of this thesis to explore them. Those elements which are particularly related to intrinsic value and associated principles relevant to this thesis will be explored. But by no means is a generalization of such a diverse discipline intended.[213]

There are a variety of approaches used within ecofeminism that are applied towards this critique. Karren Warren illustrates eight typologies of connection: (1) Historical, Typically Causal; (2) Conceptual; (3) Empirical and Experiential; (4) Symbolic; (5) Epistemological; (6) Political (Praxis); (7) Ethical; and (8) Theoretical[214]. She further comments,

'Ecological Feminism' is the name of a variety of positions that make visible different sorts of women-nature connections, claiming that an understanding of these connections is necessary for any adequate feminism, environmentalism, or environmental philosophy.[215]

It is proposed that a common theme animating most forms of ecofeminism, is that of a vision which sees a parallel relationship between the variety of principles governing the dualistic domination and objectification of male over female with the same principles governing the domination and objectification of humanity over nature. By deconstructing what is considered the essential causes of this dysfunctional relationality, ecofeminism seeks to gain insight into reconstructing a more authentic, egalitarian and holistic vision of relationships both within human society and between humanity and nature.

An implication of such an approach for intrinsic value theory is that ecofeminism does not attempt to define what aspects of the ontology of nature illustrate intrinsic value worthy of moral consideration. Rather ecofeminism seeks to offer a critique of the principles that determine the valuing process itself. This is primarily done through an examination of the parallel relationships mentioned. By way of this critique a transformation in the entire valuing system occurs, thereby creating more maturity and holism in the way relationships are perceived, and the way in which value is determined itself.

Within this thesis, two ecofeminists have had significant influence. The first, and perhaps most significant, is that of Val Plumwood. Of the above typologies, Plumwood uses a variety of methodologies including historical, ethical, epistemological and conceptual critiques regarding the relationship between humanity and nature. Challenging not only the anthropocentric and androcentric ontological paradigm of humanity, and the manner in which nature is defined and valued, but also the hierarchical dualistic dominant/subordinant paradigm of relationships between them . Thus having a direct relation to the consideration of intrinsic value.

A number of the principles that Plumwood explores will be discussed in greater detail, and will form a common thread throughout the thesis. To summarize, those concerns which she explores, that are related to intrinsic value theory and this thesis are: instrumentalism, materialism, dualism, hyperseperation, backgrounding and denied dependency, homogenization, incorporation, the critique of rationalism, and the removal of teleology, agency and intentionality from nature, and the formulation of a authentic model of human ontology;[216]

The second ecofeminist to make a substantial contribution in this thesis is that of Sallie McFague.[217] She offers valuable concepts related to macrohistory and more immanent and relational theological models in a panentheistic framework. The Bahá'í view, with its apophatic elements, qualifies and stresses the metaphorical nature of the theological model of immanence more strongly than McFague. And perhaps more importantly, it lends an even greater specificity to the descriptive capacity of the model in its particular expressions of the infinite attributes of God Being revealed through all beings.

However, this does not diminish from a number of other valuable principles associated with interdependence and relationality which will be explored.

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