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Philosophy gone wild : environmental ethics / Holmes Rolston

Main Author Rolston, Holmes 1932- Country Estados Unidos. Publication Buffalo : Prometheus Books, 1989 Description 269 p. ; 23 cm ISBN 0-87975-556-3 CDU 502
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Monografia Biblioteca de Ciências da Educação
BCE 502 - R Available 191674
Total holds: 0

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"Here are fifteen essays written from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s by a pioneering environmental ethicist. The collection is divided into four sections: ethics and nature, values in nature, environmental philosophy in practice, and nature in experience. . . . Rolston's writing often evokes the best of American philosophy of nature. He writes with flair and grace. The book is good reading because it is good literature. Rolston raises unsettling questions [and] a formidable challenge. The agenda is well set." -- F. E. Bernard, Ethics

"An important book that deserves a wide student readership . . . . Highly appropriate for ecology . . . and philosophy courses, as well as courses dealing with environmental law and policy-making." -- J. C. Kricher, Choice

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface (p. 9)
  • I Ethics and Nature (p. 11)
  • 1 Is There an Ecological Ethic? (p. 12)
  • 2 Can and Ought We to Follow Nature? (p. 30)
  • 3 Philosophical Aspects of the Environment (p. 53)
  • 4 The River of Life: Past, Present, and Future (p. 61)
  • II Values in Nature (p. 73)
  • 5 Values in Nature (p. 74)
  • 6 Are Values in Nature Subjective or Objective? (p. 91)
  • 7 Values Gone Wild (p. 118)
  • III Environmental Philosophy in Practice (p. 143)
  • 8 Just Environmental Business (p. 144)
  • 9 Valuing Wildlands (p. 180)
  • 10 Duties to Endangered Species (p. 206)
  • IV Nature in Experience (p. 221)
  • 11 Lake Solitude: The Individual in Wildness (p. 223)
  • 12 Meditation at the Precambrian Contact (p. 233)
  • 13 Farewell, Washington County (p. 241)
  • 14 Nature and Human Emotions (p. 248)
  • 15 The Pasqueflower (p. 256)
  • Index (p. 263)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


The title expresses the objective of this book-to argue for the adoption of environmental ethics. The book brings together a well-integrated series of essays that have been published separately. Fifteen essay chapters are divided into four sections: ethics and nature, values in nature, environmental philosophy in practice, and nature in experience. Although not all chapters are equally strong and some repetition occurs, this is nevertheless an important book that deserves a wide student readership. Rolston ranges broadly, discussing subjective versus objective definitions of values in nature and including many thought-provoking examples. Philosophy students should find his discussions of the naturalistic fallacy and its relationship to environmental ethics most interesting. Because the book consists of essays, it need not be read sequentially, chapter by chapter. Highly appropriate for ecology (as a supplement) and philosophy courses, as well as courses dealing with environmental law and policy-making. All college libraries should have a copy.-J.C. Kricher, Wheaton College, Mass.

Kirkus Book Review

A collection of personal and philosophical explorations of nature that ranges from the eloquent to the impenetrable. From Genesis to Darwin to American Manifest Destiny, a key axiom of Western culture has been that nature is a vast storehouse of natural resources designed for human use. Rolston, part of a new generation of philosophers, believes that nature is also a source of moral values. He considers the new ecological consciousness a part of the ongoing moral awakening in human nature that has enlarged the notion of kinship from family to tribe to nation and, now, to ""biosphere."" Rolston sees nature as a ""generative process,"" a ""great river of life"" that people should see themselves a part of and strive to preserve. Other thinkers have contended that to allow the current maelstrom of extinctions of wild creatures to continue is wrong because precious natural resources may be lost forever, because the biosphere upon which we all depend may be thrown out of whack, or because individual animals suffer. According to Rolston, extinction of entire species, nature's genetic building blocks, shuts down the generative process, halting the ""historical flow in which the vitality of life is laid."" This leads him to suggest that the ""individual,"" on which ethics traditionally has been based, is less important than the ""species""--a controversial assertion. At his best, Rolston is able to convey his own deep experiences of wilderness; he also proposes a useful set of guidelines on how environmental ethics should operate in the worlds of business and government. At his worst, he forces readers to wade through dissertations on ""technical oughts,"" ""proximate moral oughts,"" ""antecedent moral oughts"" and other opaque concepts that can be deciphered only by devotees of academic philosophy. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Born in Staunton, Virginia, Holmes Rolston received both a theological and secular education. After receiving a B.S. degree in philosophy from Davidson University in 1953, he went on to earn a divinity degree from the Union Theological Seminary (1956) and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Edinburgh (1958). Rolston initially taught philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College in 1958, before becoming pastor of the Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia, where he remained until 1967. Since 1968 he has been professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. Rolston's main areas of research and writing have focused on the interrelationship between ecology and religion and on ecological ethics and environmental issues. He is the associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Ethics, which is a primary outlet for articles in the field of environmental ethics. One of Rolston's main themes is that science can be used to promote religious experience, rather than destroy it. (Bowker Author Biography)

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