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Environmental Ethics

  • By: Michael A. Urban
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Environmental ethics represents an emerging area of philosophical inquiry concerning the morality governing human responsibility, valuation, and behavior toward the nonhuman biophysical environment. Traditionally, philosophical approaches to ethics have involved questions of personal, interpersonal, or societal behavior. The search for the moral life inspires questions such as “What is our moral responsibility toward each other?” and “How do we decide which behaviors are right and which are wrong?” This central concern of ethics is to establish an appropriate moral code for living and interacting with others around you. Social ethics are self-reflective; they help determine the guidelines by which we orient our behavior toward others. They inspire, limit, and regulate interpersonal or societal interactions. Environmental ethics is the extension of social ethics beyond the realm ...

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