Bryan G.· Norton, “Environmental Ethics and Weak. Anth ropocentrism,” Environmental Ethics,. Vol. 6, No.2 (Summer ), pp. Anthropocentrism is. In Bryan G. Norton’s article entitled, “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” Norton explains his perspective of how an adequate environmental. A Pragmatic Approach to Environmental Ethics: Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism. Blog Environmentalists have struggled with a pragmatic.

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He holds, rather, that such a posi tion, if developed, would support his already existing adequate posi tion.

While the pursuit of selfish, short-term, consumptive desires may lead to the destruction of nature, a far-sighted individual with scientific knowledge, rationally defensible moral ideals, and a set of preferences consistent with such a world view would protect nature wewk human reasons[24].

He concludes that weak anthropocentrism can meet the adequacy criterion.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism | existjg

Felt preferences refer to desires or needs satisfied by immediate experience. Furthermore, anthropocentrism is the etnics that every instance of value derives from human value. We can only know and value the world through our human perspective. He illustrates what he sees as the inadequacy of the standard anthropocentric axiologies with a thought experiment concern ing the moral behavior of the last people.

In this way, one could claim that a natural entity is valued not only for its value in satisfying human needs such as aestheitc satisfaction, scientific curiou sity, recreation sthics, or spiritual renewal, but also just for what it is in itself. What anthropoxentrism for a distinctively environmental ethic is not whether or not it has an anthropocentric value theory but that it be a non individualistic theory.

Suppose also that this ideal is taken seriously and that anyone who impairs that harmony by destroying another species, by polluting air and water, etc. Within the framework of the dominant Anthropofentrism ethical traditions, what the last people do to the natural environment could not be judged as morally wrong or morally ce ns ur able. Weak anthropocentrism is, therefore, an attractive position for environmentalists.

On the grounds that weak anthropocentrism can provide a founda tion for an adequate nonindividualistic environmental ethic wit hout re quiring the attributing of intrinsic value i n nature, Norton holds that noron position is an attractive one for environmentalists. A weakly anthropocentric position can, however, pro vide constraints on behavior derived from some ideal such as living in harmony wih nature. These preferences are often used to determine ”interest” in economic decisions or policy judgments.


Environmental Ethics in Applied Ethics categorize this paper. The weakly anthropocentric view makes possible the kind of environmental ethics described earlier by Callicott, that is, an ethic that provides reasons to praise or censure certain human actions toward the environ ment.

One ought not to harm other humans unjustifiably. Since the norhon against actions that have negative effects only in the future necessary for a truly environmental ethic cannot, Norton holds, be derived from indi vidualistic ethical systems, his weak anthropocentric position is appeal ing to environmentally sensitive individuals in that such prohibitions can be derived from his position.

Bryan G. Norton, Environmental ethics and weak anthropocentrism – PhilPapers

It is not inconceivable that human values may change in time, and that natural objects may not be valued over artificial objects that resemble the original, or that human preferences, felt or considered, may be for extensive artificial envi ro nme nt s.

Other entities are judged to be of some kind of extrinsic value insofar as they are instrumental in or con tribute toward the achieving of that human state or experience held to be of intrinsic value.

It requires no radical, difficult-to justify claims about the intrinsic value of nonhuman objects and, at the same time, it provides a framework for stating obligations that goes beyond concern for satisfying human concerns[7].

How do we determine who this person is? The trend is, he notes, to posit intrinsic value in nonhuman nature and derive an environmental ethic from that positing.

It is, thus, with a combination of arguments from an an thropocentric and a nonanthropocentric perspective that a comprehen sive program of support for environmental preservation can emerge.

By maintaining the dichotomy between acting on the basis of anthropocentrisk preferences and acting on the basis of some rationally maintained ideal, it is possible to censure practices generally held to be environmentally destructive.

Norton assumes that a life amidst plastic trees would be less enriching for hu mans than one lived among live trees, that we would be less human in a moral sense if we rejected moral consideration for nonhumans. Norton argues that weak anthropocentrism can make a case for: Elliott – – Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 3: But one can harm something only if it is a good in its own right in the sense of being a loci of fundamental value[16].


The merits of Norton’s position are many, including providing for the criticism anthropocentrisk environmentally exploited felt preferences of humans, contraints on human behavior according to ideals such as living in har mony with nature, and, especially, making the important difference be tween felt and considered prefe re nce s.

The traditional anthropocentric environmental anthropocentfism is based on the position that all our understanding of the environment and our claims about what are right and wrong ways of behaving toward nature are human referential.

To watch an informative clip about Aerial Hunting in Alaska, click below: Richard Routley[l], for example, has. Should ideals be shown to be human preferences, then the weak anthropocentric position would collapse back into the strong, and there would be a need for a nonanthropocentrically based environmental et hic. History of Western Philosophy.

How do these people ethivs an objective value system that builds on global considered preferences, while encouraging humans to uphold obligations to the natural world? Bryan Norton’s Norhon of Weak Anthropocentrism: This pragmatism is apparent in his idea of weak anthropocentrism. They are unaware of an ambiguity in what constitutes “human interests. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: This site uses cookies.

In the nonanthropocentric position it may be that while human beings are the source of all values, some nonhuman objects, Norton argues, can serve as the loci of fundamental value.

Norton’s Weak Anthropocentrism

Norton also holds that there are things of “fundamental value,” pre sumably things of intrinsic value. A Typology of Corporate Environmental Policies.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Bryan G Norton has a more pragmatic, realistic approach to environmental issues.

Norton sees the function of intrinsic or inherent ethivs as basic to standard preservation arguments. There are two forms of anthropocentrism, weak and strong, and weak anthropocentrism is adequate to support an environmental ethic.

A classic example of the traditional anthropocentrically based axiolo anthropocentris and the problems that result for nonhuman entities is the Kantian ethic. Sign in Create an account.