Title

A Cartesian Approach to Environmental Ethics

Abstract

Environmental ethicists have attacked the philosophy of René Descartes for supposedly being pivotal in preventing the formulation of proper environmental concerns and attitudes. In my presentation, I argue that Descartes’ philosophy is effective in developing a proper environmental ethic. Descartes believed God created two kinds of substances, mental and physical; humans are composed of a mental and physical substance, plants and animals of only a physical substance. Descartes argued that humans, animals and plants, despite their difference in substance, share the same status of creatures and interact with one another. The interactions between humans and physical substances, i.e., animals and plants, can be pleasurable. Morally, Descartes argued that humans properly serving God receive theistic pleasure from promoting the welfare of their communities. Humans, animals and plants exist in an ecological community with one another. Thus, Descartes’ philosophy naturally develops a theocentric environmental ethic.

Faculty Sponsor

Patrick Frierson

Tracks

Environmental Humanities

Terms of Use

ARMINDA Terms of Use

Location

Kimball Theatre

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 11:15 AM

A Cartesian Approach to Environmental Ethics

Kimball Theatre

Environmental ethicists have attacked the philosophy of René Descartes for supposedly being pivotal in preventing the formulation of proper environmental concerns and attitudes. In my presentation, I argue that Descartes’ philosophy is effective in developing a proper environmental ethic. Descartes believed God created two kinds of substances, mental and physical; humans are composed of a mental and physical substance, plants and animals of only a physical substance. Descartes argued that humans, animals and plants, despite their difference in substance, share the same status of creatures and interact with one another. The interactions between humans and physical substances, i.e., animals and plants, can be pleasurable. Morally, Descartes argued that humans properly serving God receive theistic pleasure from promoting the welfare of their communities. Humans, animals and plants exist in an ecological community with one another. Thus, Descartes’ philosophy naturally develops a theocentric environmental ethic.

Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).