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Ecology and ethics Is there a duty to nature

Ecology and ethics Is there a duty to nature Plato and Aristotle would have found the modern effort to fuse ethics and ecology to be incomprehensible. Despite the fact that oikosmeaning house or householdis a Greek word, Greek science did not entertain a concept of ecology. Nor did Greek philosophy regard nature as morally considerable. Etymology aside, the word ecology in anything like its modern sense of biospheric house did not appear in European thought until 1873 when Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, a German biologist and philosopher, used it, with the spelling Oekologie, in his The History of Creation. Furthermore, the words ecology and ecological always had exclusive reference, until quite recently, to a scientific discipline and not to a branch of philosophy. As with the Classical Greek philosophers, so it was also with modern thinkers. Ethics, they held, were concerned solely with interpersonal relations. They could not, therefore, recognize a duty to nature. That we do owe a duty to nature, however, is the carefully considered conclusion of most of the environmental ethicists. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reference Services Review Emerald Publishing

Ecology and ethics Is there a duty to nature

Reference Services Review , Volume 22 (1): 18 – Jan 1, 1994

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0090-7324
DOI
10.1108/eb049209
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Plato and Aristotle would have found the modern effort to fuse ethics and ecology to be incomprehensible. Despite the fact that oikosmeaning house or householdis a Greek word, Greek science did not entertain a concept of ecology. Nor did Greek philosophy regard nature as morally considerable. Etymology aside, the word ecology in anything like its modern sense of biospheric house did not appear in European thought until 1873 when Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, a German biologist and philosopher, used it, with the spelling Oekologie, in his The History of Creation. Furthermore, the words ecology and ecological always had exclusive reference, until quite recently, to a scientific discipline and not to a branch of philosophy. As with the Classical Greek philosophers, so it was also with modern thinkers. Ethics, they held, were concerned solely with interpersonal relations. They could not, therefore, recognize a duty to nature. That we do owe a duty to nature, however, is the carefully considered conclusion of most of the environmental ethicists.

Journal

Reference Services ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1994

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