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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Two Distinctions in Environmental Goodness

Karen Green

Environmental Values 5(1996): 31-46. doi: 10.3197/096327196776679384

In her paper, 'Two distinctions in goodness', Korsgaard points out that while a contrast is often drawn between intrinsic and instrumental value there are really two distinctions to be drawn here. One is the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic value, the other is that between having value as an end and having value as a means. In this paper I apply this contrast to some issues in environmental philosophy. It has become a commonplace of environmentalism that there are intrinsic values in nature. What is usually meant by this is that some values in nature are not merely instrumental to human ends. By using the notion of intrinsic value to express this philosophers have developed positions which are open to a number of meta-ethical and practical objections. The view that there are objective values in nature, which are independent of human interests, is better served by an environmental philosophy which sees most value in nature as objective, extrinsic value. The resulting environmental ethic is sketched and some apparent difficulties discussed.

KEYWORDS: Intrinsic value, instrumental value, meta-ethics, subjectivism, biocentrism

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Humans Valuing Nature: Synthesising Insights from Philosophy, Psychology and Economics. Michael Lockwood

The Value of Nature's Otherness Simon A. Hailwood

Postmodernism, Value and Objectivity Robin Attfield

Convergence, Noninstrumental Value and the Semantics of 'Love': Reply to Norton.Katie McShane

Reasons and Values in Environmental Ethics. Lars Samuelsson

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