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Against Ecological SovereigntyEthics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World$
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Mick Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670284

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670284.001.0001

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Articulating Ecological Ethics and Politics

Articulating Ecological Ethics and Politics

(p.159) 6 Articulating Ecological Ethics and Politics
Against Ecological Sovereignty

Mick Smith

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explains the tendency in environmental ethics to translate ethical concerns into fixed moral frameworks, and reviews the basis of naturalistic claims about objective moral values that are regarded as imposing constraints on the freedoms of human-centered politics. It talks about Laura Westra, who developed a notion of ecosystemic “integrity” as a measurable “objective state” equivalent to the “optimal functional capacity”. For Westra, integrity should be understood as a primary moral good threatened by human intrusions, as anthropogenic stress leads to suboptimal ecosystem functioning and non-evolutionary changes that constitute a moral wrong to the ecosystem.

Keywords:   environmental ethics, moral frameworks, moral values, human-centered politics, Laura Westra, ecosystemic integrity, anthropogenic stress, suboptimal ecosystem functioning, non-evolutionary changes

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