Why Study Environmental Ethics?

  • Kimberly K. Smith
Part of the AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series book series (AESS)


Ethics is a field in philosophy that focuses on explaining and defending judgments about right and wrong conduct. Ethicists use the method of ethical inquiry to examine value judgments critically, clarifying them and resolving conflicts among them. This chapter takes a brief tour of metaethics to orient us before delving into more specific questions about how to answer questions about environmental values. The chapter concludes with an introduction to environmental ethics, which addresses the need for and general outlines of an ethic that recognizes the value of nonhuman nature and our duties toward it.

Further Reading

  1. Anthony, C.: Reflections on the purposes and meanings African American environmental history. In: Glave, D., Stoll, M. (eds.) To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh (2006)Google Scholar
  2. Brennan, A., Lo, Y.S.: Understanding Environmental Philosophy. Acumen Publishing, Durham (2010)Google Scholar
  3. Callicott, B.: Companion to a Sand County Almanac. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison (1987)Google Scholar
  4. Jamieson, D.: Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kheel, M.: Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham (2008)Google Scholar
  6. Leopold, A., Sand County, A.: Almanac with Essays on Conservation from Round River. Ballantine Books, New York (1966)Google Scholar
  7. Light, A., Katz, E. (eds.): Environmental Pragmatism. Routledge, New York (1996)Google Scholar
  8. Pojman, L.: Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong, 4th edn. Wadsworth, Belmont, CA (2002)Google Scholar
  9. Murphy, J.: Santeria: An African Religion in America. Beacon Hill Press, Boston (1988)Google Scholar
  10. Taylor, P.: Respect for Nature. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1986)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly K. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Carleton CollegeNorthfieldUSA

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