ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND THE RATIONAL MORAL STATUS OF NON-HUMAN NATURAL PHENOMENON
The survival of the human being, known as a conscious being, is dependent on the healthy interaction and interrelationship of a range of living and non-living species, empirical and supra-empirical facts in the Universe. Various interactions need the coexistence of these realities. As a result, the human being thinks he has no direct moral responsibilities to non-rational, non-human nature; only rational beings, as Kant says, are worthy of moral consideration. This will be argued to be overly anthropocentric, excluding the non-human natural world from the realm of moral consideration. Given that non-human nature is, to some extent, instrumentally beneficial, to some unavoidable existential and ontological thought,
This study, on the other hand, attempts to assert that moral duties should be extended to the natural world in order to attain comprehensive environmental sustainability.
From antiquity, primordial man, faced with the challenge of existence on the face of the planet, produced tools for labour with his strong survival instinct. He had controlled nature, therefore he was worried about how to be a ruler and maintain his dignity. This was back in the day. Currently, ours is the only way for mankind to completely eliminate drudgery and restore comfort, even if it comes at the price of other living and even non-living beings.
As a result, the emphasis of this work is to speak to conscious beings’ consciences about how they should connect to and interact with non-human phenomena in order to promote and maintain the cosmic environment.
Theories of environmental sustainability:
(Bioregionalism and Social Ecology)
This theory is proposed by Bookchin’s version of critical theory, which considers the outer physical world to be what he refers to as “primary nature.” This theory is a social movement, and the issues it governs are social problems. Bookchin proposed that people might choose to serve natural evolution by preserving complexity and diversity, alleviating suffering, and reducing pollution.
According to Bookchin’s social ecology, people should employ their endowments of sociability, communication, and intelligence as if they were “nature made conscious” rather than turning them against the same source and origin from which such gifts emanate. Nature’s exploitation should be replaced with a more prosperous way of life oriented to the protection of nature.
Mufford took a regionalist stance, stating that strong regional cultural centres form the foundation of vibrant and solidly based local life. He was concerned, like the pessimist in critical theory, about the formation of a mega machine under industrialised capitalism, one that would oppress and rule human creativity and work in an uncontrollable manner while being a human product.LEWIS MUMFORD, 1944, P403
In his foundational work, Kant articulates the kinds of imperatives that should define our moral conduct. As humans struggle with internal moral conflicts between reason and appetites, the temptation to disregard moral laws and follow the dictates of our irrational impulses may be extremely seductive and powerful. As a result, all moral laws are presented to us as imperatives. Our moral responsibilities or obligations can be expressed in the language of imperatives or commandments.
Kant distinguished two types of imperatives: hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives.
Hypothetical imperatives are presented to us in the form of a conditional statement, such as “if you want to attain objective X, you must execute act Y.” Because they must be based on something, hypothetical imperatives are neither absolute nor universal moral principles.
tendency, objective, or desire It expresses the practical need for a potential action as a means to another willed action. 3.
On the other hand, categorical imperatives are not conditional since nothing can justify ignoring moral obligations: they oblige us completely or categorically. The categorical imperative is what Kant refers to as a pure a priori basis, and it defines an action as absolutely required in and of itself, independent of its relation to another aim. 4
As a result, Kant presents each human being qua rational as having intrinsic value and dignity, implying that no one should be exploited, manipulated, or just utilised as a means to a goal. By extension, only rational beings an being qua rational as having intrinsic value and dignity, implying that no one should be exploited, manipulated, or just utilised as a means to a goal. By extension, only rational beings (humans) are intrinsically valuable, but others are useful primarily in virtue of their contribution to the achievement of a goal.
This argument appears to be extremely anthropocentric; anthropocentrism is the belief that man is at the centre of the universe and that moral obligations are solely human-centered.As a result, the non-human world is solely regarded instrumentally, which has disastrous consequences for the environmental progress of both human and non-human beings. However, the rational world has a role to play in the maintenance of the non-rational world; weakening one component of the cosmos in favour of another is detrimental to man’s attempt to gain a holistic knowledge and maintain his environment.
In a separate examination, the next section would expand on the non-human world and the logic of instrumental and intrinsic worth.
The View of Intrinic and Instrumental Value in the Non-Human Natural World
The non-human natural world simply refers to all physical, non-artificial, biotic and abiotic constituents of the cosmos that do not include humans. The natural world, in this sense, is that part of “nature” with which humans interact and affect, such as the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. It is vital to highlight that these earth systems include the living components of living natural systems as well as an animate non-human component.
Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative places people only in the realm of ends. This simply means that the non-human natural world or environment may be exploited as a means to an end because it has no intrinsic worth.
It will be necessary to define value in order to have a better understanding.
Value can also be referred to as value, utility, appealing, or quality. The term “valore” derives from the Latin word for “value.”
As a result, one might speak of an item as having intrinsic value as absolute, ultimate, or a goal in itself, as opposed to instrumental value, which is extrinsic and acquires its worth for the contribution it provides, which is “a means to an end”6.
However, as a ratiocentrist, only people have inherent worth, leaving the non-human natural world in the class of means. This study contends that it is not people that assign value to nature. Some characteristics are found in nature Beauty, order, and harmony, for example, are objectives in themselves that are not always granted by human reason and value. Non-anthropocentric thinkers, such as Naess, contend that nature has inherent value. Naess went on to say that the well-being of non-human species on Earth is valuable in and of itself. This value is independent of any instrumental utility for a specific human aim. 7.
The Naess argument opposes treating non-human natural creatures just as a method to satisfy insatiable human desires. On O’Neil’s argument, he argued that the non-human world had inherent value in the strongest sense. This is in the sense of value being irrespective of any rational being’s valuation 8.Such value, he asserts, imposes no inherent moral responsibility on human beings, but the defender of nature’s intrinsic worth must nonetheless demonstrate that such value benefits human welfare. Because intrinsic worth is related to human wellbeing, O’Neil’s stance appears to be anthropocentric.
Yet, the non-human natural world lacks logic and cannot be morally considered. However, our inconsiderate behaviours may contribute to the development of cruel habits toward humans, making an agent morally accountable.
Individuals and communities should consider this in order to preserve the well-being of people in the cosmos, despite a shift in attitude toward environmental care. The atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere The lithosphere and biosphere should be cared for in the same way that humans are, because their well-being is at stake if no care is given.
The authorities are anticipated to make the following provisions:
(a) The government should take steps to reduce pollution caused by factories, industries, power plants, vehicles, and other pollutants.
(b) Strictly control deforestation and promote afforestation.
(c) The government should guarantee that road construction companies provide suitable drainage infrastructure such as gulters and culverts at appropriate locations.
(d) Citizens should be educated about environmental preservation and protection.
(e) A recycling-friendly economic system should be explored.
(f) Wildlife should be encouraged so that species on the verge of extinction might be saved for future generations.
It is widely accepted that health equals wealth, and one of the most important ways to realise this is to safeguard both the living and non-living components of our environment.
As we have seen, the problem of environmental deterioration evolved from a focus on “man.” Many people believe that humans have the right to do whatever they want with environmental phenomena. Animal courts have now been formed in several affluent countries, along with attorneys who represent animals.
As a result, moderation in human interactions with other organisms remains the watchword for achieving genuine environmental sustainability. Humans and other organisms in the cosmos should coexist peacefully. It may appear strange that man, in his ambition to dominate the cosmos, as the philosopher Protagoras will remark, “man is the measure of all things,” would burn down the universe with nuclear weapons, unaware that he is showing his weakness by destroying himself and his future generation. Then reason would become history; it would exist in nothingness; and both rational and non-rational experiences would be had in a vacuum. What you cannot produce should not be destroyed since it is a necessary component of your life.
- Onuoha, Ethics and Human Society (A Reflective Study), Winet Printing Co., Owerri, 2011, p171.
- Onuaha, p181
- T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T.K. Abbott, T
- An Introduction to Kant’s Ethics, by Roger J. Sullivan, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p34.
- David Keller, Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, 2010.
- “Ratiocentrism and the Moral Status of the Non-Human Natural World: A Reflection on Kant’s Categorical Imperative,” Edward U. Vol. 13, Maryland History: An International Review of Philosophy and African Studies No. 1, 2016, p117.
- Ecological Ethics Vol. 6,No. 6, Naess, “A Criticism of the Wider Ecology Association.” 1984, p266.
- Edward U., p120
- (The Varieties of Intrinsic Value), J. O’Neil, Environmental Ethics: An Anthropology, Andrew Light & Holmes Rolston 111. (eds),Blackwell Publishers, Malden, 2003, p131.