Environmental Ethics Essay

Topics: Philosophy, Immanuel Kant, Sierra Nevada Pages: 3 (1018 words) Published: June 10, 2013
Environmental Ethics Essay

Following the beginning of the industrial revolution, various environmentalists and philosophers began to speak out about our relationship with nature, and how we should treat it. Each person views differ but there is no doubt that all impacted the environmentalists of the future. This essay will look at three main players in environmental ethics: Immanuel Kant, Aldo Leopold and John Muir. All three of these men had different arguments for preserving the earth, and they all had different worldviews. All three of them have all had significant impacts on environmental ethics, with views that are still relevant, if not more relevant, today.

Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 in Prussia. He was the fourth of nine children. Before he started his major philosophical works, he was a popular teacher and a successful author. Kant pointed out that we all shape our experience of things through the filter of our mind. The mind shapes that experience, and among other things, Kant believed the concepts of space and time were programmed into the human brain, as was the notion of cause and effect. We never have direct experience of things, the noumenal world, and what we do experience is the phenomenal world as conveyed by our senses. These observations summarize Kant's views upon the subject–object problem. Kant calls practical "everything that is possible through freedom", and the pure practical laws that are never given through sensuous conditions but are held analogously with the universal law of causality are moral laws. Reason can give us only the "pragmatic laws of free action through the senses", but pure practical laws given by reason a priori dictate "what ought to be done".

His ideas influence environmental ethics, where their emphasis in terms of progress and it can be applied in today’s ever changing world because he settled and moved philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists and empiricists. He uses the natural...
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