Researching Environmental Value Pluralism in Theory and Practice
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Environmental ethics has been rising in popularity in literature steadily over recent years. With many challenges facing humans by way of endangered species, climate change, etc, environmental ethics and moral reasoning has become more important than ever. There are countless environmental philosophies to choose from and understand, and each one typically tries to claim itself as the best and only option. In order to have environmental ethics and philosophy have a better chance of being put into practice, I argue that one must draw strengths from numerous theories. This dissertation focuses on the key points of several environmental philosophies, including topics such as various theories of intrinsic value, intrinsic versus instrumental value, aesthetics and scientific knowledge. After a succinct and critical account of these theories, value pluralism and pragmatism are discussed and link together the many philosophies in environmental ethics in a way that can be used in practice. I argue that it should not matter if one values the environment strictly according to a single theory as long as an ethical decision is made in the end. In today’s society, it is not practical to expect a single environmental theory to cover all of the issues humans face, and therefore, a pragmatic approach to value pluralism is crucial. In order to illustrate how value pluralism and pragmatism are imperative to putting theory into practice, a case study of residents on Fair Isle, Scotland is included.