Are values in nature subjective or objective?
Rolston, Holmes, 1932-, author
Environmental Philosophy, Inc., publisher
Prevailing accounts of natural values as the subjective response of the human mind are reviewed and contested. Discoveries in the physical sciences tempt us to strip the reality away from many native-range qualities, including values, but discoveries in the biological sciences counterbalance this by finding sophisticated structures and selective processes in earthen nature. On the one hand, all human knowing and valuing contain subjective components, being theory-laden. On the other hand, in ordinary natural affairs, in scientific knowing, and in valuing, we achieve some objective knowing of the world, agreeably with and mediated by the subjective coefficient. An ecological model of valuing is proposed, which is set in an evolutionary context. Natural value in its relation to consciousness is examined as an epiphenomenon, an echo, an emergent, an entrance, and an education, with emphasis on the latter categories. An account of intrinsic and instrumental natural value is related both to natural objects, life forms and land forms, and to experiencing subjects, extending the ecological model. Ethical imperatives follow from this redescription of natural value and the valuing process.
Includes bibliographical references.
value of nature