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Old 03-11-2019, 01:27 PM   #1
Great Horned Owl
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Northeastern MA
bunny What do we owe to a rabbit (or any other creature)?


Though the article waxes philosophical, it does address what most who visit this site are probably most interested in: Why should we feel an obligation to the other creatures on the planet????

Though a rabbit is used for example, the article goes on to assert that the principle can be extended to the treatment of any fellow creature.

Here's an excerpt:

"..does that mean that human lives are more important or more valuable than the lives of animals? Korsgaard asks, in keeping with her skepticism about untethered absolute value, “More important or valuable to whom?” Your life is more valuable to you than it is to a rabbit, but the rabbit’s life is more valuable to the rabbit than it is to you. And if you protest that the rabbit’s life is not as important to the rabbit as your life is to you, Korsgaard’s response is that even though you have a conception of your life as a whole that the rabbit lacks, this does not show that your life is more valuable:

For even if the rabbit’s life is not as important to her as yours is to you, nevertheless, for her it contains absolutely everything of value, all that can ever be good or bad for her, except possibly the lives of her offspring. The end of her life is the end of all value and goodness for her. So there is something imponderable about these comparisons."
"Know thyself."

Oracle at Delphi
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Pennsylvania

Thank you for sharing.
"If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar." ~ Lorrie Otto
~ A Native Backyard Blog ~
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:35 PM   #3
A Bee's Best Friend
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA

Our species may only remain successful if we are able to grasp and act on the more abstract benefits to mankind in learning to place importance on nature, the earth and all life, even when at odds with immediate personal interest.
An interesting article at the link...

The man nature relationship and environmental ethics
Ph. Bourdeau
Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles 1050, Belgium Received 1 May 2002; accepted 1 May 2003


Our behaviour and policies with regard to nature and the environment should be guided by a code of ethics, which is to be derived from basic principles and from a pragmatic consideration of the issues at stake.
The man–nature relationship has always been ambiguous, nature being seen as both a provider and an enemy. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, man is set apart from nature and called to dominate it, although this attitude has been revised to become one of stewardship.
Oriental religions, on the other hand, have a more holistic view and consider humans as an integral part of nature.
Modern philosophers have views ranging from anthropocentrism to biocentrism and egocentrism.
It is suggested to take a pragmatic approach by which primary human needs are met first and foremost whereas the needs of other living organisms and ecosystems are allowed to prevail over secondary human needs. A plea is made to support the Earth Charter, which embodies in its principles and prescriptions a balanced respect for nature and future human generations
. # 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Nature can be seen as beautiful and harmonious but it also inspires fear in man who has had to fight it in order to survive. Now, nature is threatened by man who has become detached from it. Technology has endowed humans with the power of a major geological agency, which may act on a continental or even planetary scale (e.g. acid rain, photochemical smog, radioactive contamination, stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change).
Anthropocentrism, which can be more or less enlightened, aims at protecting the environment in view only of the direct and indirect interests of mankind. This may cover not only material needs for survival and well-being but also amenities and aesthetic satisfaction, and may justify changes in basic rights, such as property rights. An additional element in this respect, introduced by the concept of sustainable development, is concern about future generations
Biocentrism recognizes the intrinsic value of life and living beings, regardless of their instrumental value for mankind, while ecocentrism advocates that environmental ethics should give due consideration to ecosystems, including their nonliving natural objects. Forests, lakes, wetlands etc. are valuable in their own right and deserve moral consideration.
The 19th century Wilderness movement in the USA, represented by Emerson, Wordsworth and Thoreau, and which led to the creation of the Sierra Club and much later to that of Friends of the Earth, sought communication with God through nature. Its object was to promote a world oriented toward a bioethics, in which mankind would live in harmony with nature, which provides subsistence and survival.
The German philosopher, Hans Jonas, affirmed in 1984 that we must be guardians of nature and of future generations, whose interests are closely confounded inasmuch as they are weakened to the point where their persistence is no longer assured. We are responsible for the future since we are capable of compromising it. He added that there was an obligation to be prudent (hence the development of the precautionary principle) as well as an obligation to know (through scientific research) in order to assess the consequences of our actions.

As far as ecocentrism is concerned, the most extreme view is that of the so-called ‘deep ecology’ movement. Propounded by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Ness, starting in 1973 (Shrader-Frechette, 1991), it holds that the value of non-human living beings is independent of their utility to man. Biological diversity, for example, has an intrinsic value (a view which is, somewhat surprisingly, recognized in the International Convention for the Protection of Biological Diversity of 1992) and man has no right to reduce this richness except to satisfy his vital needs. Some adepts of deep ecology go even further, stating that the welfare of ecosystems, may require a reduction of human population because its interference has become excessive. According to Ness, the solution of the environmental problems requires a fundamental behaviour change. We must recognize that we are part of nature, that we are constituted by our relationship to the other elements of the environment (metaphysical holism), that there is no ontological separation in the realm of existence. We are nothing but dissipative structures existing only through matter and energy flows, as a vortex in a flowing fluid (as in Buddhism).
Whether environmental norms are human constructs or find their origin in the divine, in reason or mere empiricism, they prescribe restrictions in freedom of action, which are self-imposed by the recognition that the human individual is part of a community of interdependent parts (human generations and ecosystems). To define these norms, it behoves to distinguish between the fundamental and the secondary needs of humans and not to sacrifice to the latter the interests of nonhuman living organisms.
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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