The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics

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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, Matthew H. Slater
MIT Press, 2012 - Philosophy - 307 pages
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Philosophical reflections on the environment began with early philosophers' invocation of a cosmology that mixed natural and supernatural phenomena. Today, the central philosophical problem posed by the environment involves not what it can teach us about ourselves and our place in the cosmic order but rather how we can understand its workings in order to make better decisions about our own conduct regarding it. The resulting inquiry spans different areas of contemporary philosophy, many of which are represented by the fifteen original essays in this volume.

The contributors first consider conceptual problems generated by rapid advances in biology and ecology, examining such topics as ecological communities, adaptation, and scientific consensus. The contributors then turn to epistemic and axiological issues, first considering philosophical aspects of environmental decision making and then assessing particular environmental policies (largely relating to climate change), including reparations, remediation, and nuclear power, from a normative perspective.

ContributorsKatie McShane, Robert Brandon, Rachel Bryant, Michael Trestman, Brian Steverson, Denis Walsh, Lorraine Code, Jay Odenbaugh, Joseph Cannon, Mariam Thalos, Chrisoula Andreou, Clare Palmer, Ben Hale, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Andrew Light


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How to Understand It and What to Do about It
2 The Concept of the Environment in Evolutionary Theory
3 What If Ecological Communities Are Not Wholes?
4 The Environment from a Behavioral Perspective
5 Systems Theory and the New Ecophilosophy
6 Situated Adaptationism
The Legacy of Rachel Carson
8 Climate Consensus and Contrarians
10 Precaution Has Its Reasons
11 Add to Cart? Environmental Amenities and CostBenefit Analysis
12 Can Weand Should WeMake Reparation to Nature?
Remediation Technologies and Respect for Others
Problems with Nuclear Solutions to Climate Change
15 On the Need for FrontLine Climate Ethics

Kant on Taking an Interest in Natural Beauty

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About the author (2012)

William P. Kabasenche is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Washington State University. Michael O'Rourke is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Idaho. Matthew H. Slater is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Bucknell University. O'Rourke and Slater are coeditors of the previous volume in the Topics in Contemporary Philosophy series, Carving Nature at Its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science.

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