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The EnvironmentPhilosophy, Science, and Ethics$
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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017404

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.001.0001

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Systems Theory and the New Ecophilosophy

Systems Theory and the New Ecophilosophy

(p.73) 5 Systems Theory and the New Ecophilosophy
The Environment

Brian K. Steverson

The MIT Press

This chapter explains why previous works in environmental philosophy have been in vain, offering no practical relevance to the formation of environmental policy. The problem lies in the fact that environmental ethicists at the time were committed to the methodological position that the task of environmental ethics was to find one theory to serve as the foundation for policy formation. This made environmental philosophy a debilitating form of “methodological dogmatism.” The obsession with theoretical debate led to a discipline-wide neglect of the role that environmental ethics should have played in influencing policy debate. The new ecophilosophers referred to in this chapter share views influenced by aversion to any type of a priori metaphysical and metaethical theorizing, rejection of metaphysical realism regarding ecosystems, commitment to an enlightened version of anthropocentrism and to pragmatic instrumentalism, and belief that the driving goal of environmental management should be the maintenance of ecosystem health.

Keywords:   environmental philosophy, environmental policy, environmental ethics, methodological dogmatism, ecophilosophers

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