AR-FAQ - #38

#38 Isn't AR opposed to environmental philosophy (as described, for example, in "Deep Ecology")?

No. It should be clear from many of the answers included in this FAQ, and from perusal of many of the books referenced in question #92, that the philosophy and goals of AR are complementary to the goals of the mainstream environmental movement. Michael W. Fox sees AR and environmentalism as two aspects of a dialectic that reconciles concerns for the rights of individuals (human and nonhuman) with concerns for the integrity of the biosphere. Some argue that a morality based on individual rights is necessarily opposed to one based on holistic environmental views, e.g., the sanctity of the biosphere. However, an environmental ethic that attributes some form of rights to all individuals, including inanimate ones, can be developed. Such an ethic, by showing respect for the individuals that make up the biosphere, would also show respect for the biosphere as a whole, thus achieving the aims of holistic environmentalism. It is clear that a rights view is not necessarily in conflict with a holistic view. In reference to the concept of deep ecology and the claim that it bears negatively on AR, Fox believes such claims to be unfounded. The following text is excerpted from "Inhumane Society", by Michael W. Fox. DG

Deep ecologists support the philosophy of preserving the natural abundance and diversity of plants and animals in natural ecosystems... The deep ecologists should oppose the industrialized, nonsubsistence exploitation of wildlife is fundamentally unsound ecologically, because by favoring some species over others, population imbalances and extinctions of undesired species would be inevitable. In their book "Deep Ecology", authors Bill Devall and George Sessions... take to task animal rights philosopher Tom Regan, who with others of like mind "expressed concern that a holistic ecological ethic...results in a kind of totalitarianism or ecological fascism"...In an appendix, however, George Sessions does suggest that philosophers need to work toward nontotalitarian solutions...and that "in all likelihood, this will require some kind of holistic ecological ethic in which the integrity of all individuals (human and nonhuman) is respected". Ironically, while the authors are so critical of the animal rights movement, they quote Arne Naess (...arguably the founder of the deep ecology movement)...For instance, Naess states: "The intuition of biocentric equality is that all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom and to reach their own forms of unfolding and self-realization..." Michael W. Fox (Vice President of HSUS)

SEE ALSO: #28, #59