Day 2: Organisms
Some ethicists focus not so much on the environment broadly speaking, but on individual lives, the organisms that make up biological communities but also have separate lifetimes of their own.
Albert Schweitzer was an advocate for a moral concern for individual organisms.
Reading: “Ethic of Reverence for Life (Schweitzer 1923)”
Holmes Rolston extends Schweitzer’s idea to the problem of extinction. If one life is valuable, what about the existence of an entire species?
Reading: “Duties to Endangered Species (Rolston 1985)”
Today’s discussions on the moral value of animals are varied and complex. Here we touch on two of the issues: Some worry that since animals perceive the world in a way all their own, we can’t know enough to be sure about what contributes to their well-being. Here is a response:
Reading: “Thinking Like an Animal (BBC)”
Conservation-minded people are divided on whether we should allow hunters to kill endangered animals, if those hunters pay so much money for the trophy that the proceeds help the species recover:
Video: “Does Hunting Exotic Animals Help Conservation? (DNews)” (4:09)