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Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (Studies in Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy) [Kindle Edition]

Paul W. Taylor
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What rational justification is there for conceiving of all living things as possessing inherent worth? In Respect for Nature, Paul Taylor draws on biology, moral philosophy, and environmental science to defend a biocentric environmental ethic in which all life has value. Without making claims for the moral rights of plants and animals, he offers a reasoned alternative to the prevailing anthropocentric view--that the natural environment and its wildlife are valued only as objects for human use or enjoyment. Respect for Nature provides both a full account of the biological conditions for life--human or otherwise--and a comprehensive view of the complex relationship between human beings and the whole of nature.

This classic book remains a valuable resource for philosophers, biologists, and environmentalists alike--along with all those who care about the future of life on Earth. A new foreword by Dale Jamieson looks at how the original 1986 edition of Respect for Nature has shaped the study of environmental ethics, and shows why the work remains relevant to debates today.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Some environmental philosophers stress our duty to prevent environmental deterioration because of our obligations to future generations of human inhabitants of the earth (cf. H. J. McCloskey's Ecological Ethics and Politics , LJ 10/1/82). In this book Taylor stresses our duties toward nature itself. Taylor lays out an intricate but powerful argument according to which all life, including individual plants, have equal inherent worth. Although some attention is paid to practical applications, the book is rigorously philosophical and its appeal will be mainly to philosophers and other scholars. Sidney Gendin, Philosophy Dept., Eastern Michigan Univ., Ypsilanti
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.


From the previous edition: "Taylor's environmental ethic is a substantial and significant one which, among other things, requires that there be harmony between human civilisation and living nature.

Product Details

  • File Size: 805 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0087OPW4A
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 25th Anniversary edition with a New foreword by Dale Jamieson edition (April 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004UGKK0K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,251 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I had been looking for September 17, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is comprehensive, with regard not only to our proper treatment of other animals but to all life, ranging from human life to plant life. In other words, it offers a complete ethics. And contrary to the preceding review, Taylor's view is not at all "anthropocentric." Quite the contrary: it is life itself that takes center stage, with humans finding their place in the total biosphere. The book is also thorough and utterly rigorous in its argumentation. To me this is a virtue since, like Taylor, I am an analytic philosopher. To the average reader this could be a drawback; I cannot in good faith therefore recommend this book to someone who is not acquainted with or does not enjoy the rigors of academic philosophic thinking. But for someone who does, I can think of no better book on the subject of an ethics that gives due consideration to nonhumans. There were passages in this book which, despite my already favorable view of a biocentric ethics, transformed my very being with new and broader understanding and conviction.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is an important work, which has undoubtedly influenced many in today's green movements. The concept of restitutive justice and nature as a client has informed activists and lawmakers for decades.

I saw it as over-reaching in its fundamental view, in much the same way that Christian missionaries have often historically over-reached when trying to save "savages". Man is a "natural" competitor, similar to any-other plant, animal or even bacteria, in that we all want our way. And if allowed to proliferate any life form will dominate to that point where further domination no longer serves that organism. Species prosper and dominate while their particular set of unique characteristics are well suited to their environments. This is for example why the dinosaurs no longer roam.

Recent history has in my view demonstrated that ham-fisted tinkering with self sustaining ecosystems is perilous in the short term, because of un-intended consequences. However, in the long term nature re-defines itself around the new condition, for example the Salton Sea in California.

Of course we want to minimize obvious damage to ecosystems, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, and imagine that we understand any more than a fraction of a fraction of nature and natural systems.

We tend to cherish today, and the recent past as representing the good, but do we really believe that, or have any supportive evidence. I think respect for evolution is as important as respect for nature, and we must embrace the changes that expanding populations bring.

Consider this, even though it is hard to see, human evolution is rapidly progressing to the point that robots will within the next 20-30 years have legal person hood, rights, and privileges. Will they be forced to limit their development because humans can no longer compete?
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A good through book on environmental ethics. Taylor has outlined his anthropocentric view of environmental ethics. He has been complete and thorough in discussing quite a few key issues and in answering possible problems with his theory. A good all-encompassing theory that is much needed in environmental philosophy.
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