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PhilosophyGround >> moral obligation to environment?


7/23/08 11:33 AM
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Blackalicious
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Your opinion?
7/23/08 2:03 PM
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vermonter
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Nope.
7/23/08 2:28 PM
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Blackalicious
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Oh yeah?

I hope you're ready with your arguments because after I study for this exam I'm going to be an expert

you ready to do battle.

(this is just for fun, i'm really not a dick and this would help me study)
7/23/08 3:49 PM
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vermonter
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Ehhh, my opinion won't help much for a paper on the topic. I don't think morals exist in an abstract sense (I.E. there are no moral attributes for actions and no "moral leger"), and so there would be nothing morally wrong in most common-sense definitions of the term with abusing the environment. However, that is not to say that there aren't some very good reasons to be good to nature.

-doug-
7/24/08 11:55 AM
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Blackalicious
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Cahen- ecosystems are not morally considerable because they do NOT have interests even in the "broad sense in which we commonly say plants" have interests.

His argument-

1.)For any X, X has moral considerability if and only (a) X has interests, (b) it would be prima facie wrong to frustrate X's interests and (c) the wrongness of frustrating X's interests is direct.

2.) X has interests only if X exhibits goal-directed behavior.
3.) Ecosystems do not exhibit goal-directed behavior.
4.) Therefore, ecosystems do not have interests.
5.)Therefore, ecosystems are not morally considerable.

I have to counter this.

I'm sure there are people here better than I that could.
7/24/08 1:43 PM
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vermonter
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Well let's discuss. It will be beneficial for you, of course, if yuo have you own ideas, but honestly it seems rife with areas to attack. Since the argument is laid out for you, it behooves you to try to develop an argument against every premise, and to also try to demonstrate that the premises don't add up to the conclusion either. Some premises you may agree with, or may be harder to work against, but this method will give you the most substance and depth to work with.

Here's a few examples right of the top of my head. Try to throw ideas like this for yourself, and then develop them. I expect credit on your test if you use mine :)

1 -> What if someone frustrates my self-destructive interests?

2 -> What about human beings who exibit no behavior? (be careful with this one, as he has a loose definition of "behavior"). It would still be wrong to harm them.

conclusion -> it seems intuitively right to treat the environment with care and intuitively wrong to do the opposite. Intuitions count for something, you know. Also, it seems as though it's pretty difficult to be destructive to an ecosystem without being destructive to the plants and animals within it, which he seems to find morally wrong.

Anyway, those are a few ideas for you. If i were you, i'd come up with some of my own. If you want to use those, go for it, but you're going to need to develop them if you want to get a good grade.

-doug-
8/3/08 3:01 AM
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ShakeNBake
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ttt
8/4/08 9:39 PM
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thesleeper
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Blackilicious,

First of all you have to outline the underlying assumptions.

1. Morality can only be conferred where there are interests

2. Interests only exist where there is goal directed behavior.

3. The interests of human beings can be separated from the well being of the eco-system.

There is nothing given to support these assumptions. Attack that. Basically these axioms are written to favor the interests of human beings over the ecosystem. Does humanity have a monopoly on morality? Why do the interests of human beings trump the welfare of the ecosystem? Do human beings live in some bubble that separates them from the usual biological limits like carrying capacity?

Wouldnt we be better off if we didnt assume that our technological abilities allow us to overcome unintended consequences of ever greater proportions?

It really helps to have some knowledge of Environmental Biology. Also to realize that the philosophical position holding that goal directed behavior and technological trends somehow make humanity separate from nature is a castle made of sand.
8/20/08 5:21 PM
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thesleeper
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I forgot to fully engage #2.

Are there interests for humans that are not goal directed? Is what is 'good' for humanity limited to the set of existing objectives?

I don't think so.
9/5/08 1:06 PM
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Blackalicious
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thanks everyone for your responses and your help
10/2/08 2:55 PM
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moonlitphoenix0
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there isn't so much as a "moral" obligation (though we should have one, being as the earth is a living, breathing thing that we're a part of) but more of a survival gesture.

the earth will be just fine after we're gone or if we f*ck it up. it's WE who should be concerned, don't you think? kind of like fish in a tank. the tank and the little tiny castle inside will be fine, but we poop it up enough and we're f*cked, no?
10/7/08 8:22 PM
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Blackalicious
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I agree

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