Value theory in environmental ethics and economics

Williams, Allison, author
McShane, Katie, advisor
Shockley, Kenneth, committee member
Fremstad, Anders, committee member
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The need for an environmental ethic is clear. Many in environmental ethics claim that an environmental ethic ought to be based on the intrinsic and/or non-anthropocentric value of nature, without consensus on a clear definition of those terms and without a clear analysis of the implications of adopting such an ethic. The purpose of this thesis is to first make sense of those different definitions and claims. Then, I describe Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic, a community-based environmental ethic outlined by Aldo Leopold, in order to contrast the different ways in which we ought to value the natural world with how we value things in economics. I argue that theories of value in economics, specifically existence value, are not compatible with nor can they capture the intrinsic, non-anthropocentric value of nature, and I propose an alternative ethic in opposition to the commodification of nature, and the relationship to the natural world formed by economics.
2020 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.
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