Land Ethic Eric T. Freyfogle Kenneth Wong Eric T. Freyfogle has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan. Being a lawyer that is also actively an author and editor that specializes in the environment, his work should be taken into consideration.
Content Notes Humans are a part of the biotic community which is also made up of other animals, plants, soils, and water. Therefore, humans also hold moral obligations to preserve and protect the fertility and productivity of land over the long term. Leopold uses this statement to support that any interaction that benefits land is right and otherwise is wrong. Leopold’s stance and influence eventually led land health into being an ethical guide to individual behavior in regards to preserving the health of the land. Leopold was known as a wildlife expert and often sought out for advice even though he was not specialized in that field. Leopold proposes that we limit hunting, game preserves, and employment of artificial propagation. Also, livestock needs to be protected from predators. But, this eventually led to predators in need of protection from hunters. Without the right balance, the ecosystem could fail. Though ethics is a normative subject, it is still important for individuals to do selfless acts in account for the welfare of our biotic community. Humans have limitations and “rely on sentiments and intuitions as well as known facts and reason” (23). After analyzing Leopold’s ethics, Calicott asserted that it is “nonanthropocentric and both holistic, extending moral value beyond humans to the land community, and deontological. Whereas Bryan Norton saw Leopold’s ethics as an outgrowth of promoting land conservation and that it was more of a standard to guide humans into long-term welfare.
Regardless, both Callicott and Norton agreed that Leopold’s land ethics was to preserve both long-term welfare for both human and biotic community. For decades, philosophers ignored Leopold’s ethics because they believed in order to preserve the health of the biotic community, all species, including humans, needed to be reduced in number to keep up. It was only until Callicott reinterpreted Leopold’s land ethics that it was not a means to replace all other ethics but a means to add onto. Leopold’s three biggest points of maintain a health land was to preserve its integrity, stability, and beauty. Stability posed to be problematic because it was interpreted as maintaining a healthy unchanged land. Integrity was also difficult because it was interpreted as the totality of species before humans were a part of the biotic community. Eventually, Newton realized that stability was the key attribute and that it was not defined as preserving an unchanged land but rather to secure its “ability to cycle nutrients over and over at high levels of efficiency without significant loss” (24).
Q & A 1. What was the substance of Leopold’s ethics? According to him, what made human actions morally right? How wide was the scope of his moral community?
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 15 pages?
- Spring '15