Moral and ethical decisions relating to environmental issues are made on the basis of ethical principles that tend to either privilege individuals or the good of the society or consider all the systems of life on the planet including those nonhuman goods or plants and animals. Utilitarianism tends to reflect the influence of democratic principles that determine policy based on majority rule and to value the greatest good of the society. Principles of utility are also reflected in economic considerations of cost-benefit analysis and free market values.

Utilitarianism was initially defined as an ethical concept of valuing an action for its contribution to happiness or pleasure and later expanded to advocate for the “greatest good for the greatest number.” The liberal philosophical perspective purported by Jeremy ...

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