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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

The Trouble with Environmental Values

Simon P. James

Environmental Values 25 (2016): 131-144. doi: 10.3197/096327116X14552114338747

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If we are to assess whether our attitudes towards nature are morally, aesthetically or in any other way appropriate or inappropriate, then we will need to know what those attitudes are. Drawing on the works of Katie McShane, Alan Holland and Christine Swanton, I challenge the common assumption that to love, respect, honour, cherish or adopt any other sort of pro-attitude towards any natural X simply is to value X in some way and to some degree. Depending on how one interprets ‘value’, that assumption is, I contend, either false or vacuous. I argue that to assess the appropriateness of a person’s pro-attitudes towards a natural entity one must in some cases appeal to the concepts of status and/or bond, and not just that of value. To develop my argument, I appeal to the works of two nature writers – Robert Macfarlane and J. A. Baker.


Environmental ethics, value, pro-attitudes, respect, love

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

What Do We Do about Bleakness? Alan Holland

Darwin and the Meaning in Life. Alan Holland

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Negotiating the Value of Values. Piers H.G. Stephens

Self-Identity and Sense of Place: Some Thoughts Regarding Climate Change Adaptation Policy Formulation. Charles N. Herrick

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