Intrinsic Value: Towards A Pragmatic Theory

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Intrinsic value is a concept central to the environmentalist movement. Whether one believes that natural objects have intrinsic value is supposed to determine whether one takes a ecocentric or homocentric approach to environmentalism, whether we practice deep or (merely) shallow ecology.  Yet this concept is also a center of controversy and confusion.  Just what does it mean for something to have intrinsic value?  Is it the same thing as inherent value? Is it "objective" value?  What of extrinsic, or, instrumental value? Is it somehow less objective?  Questions such as these will be the subject of my paper.  After a brief historical analysis of the relevant concepts, I shall consider the problem in the context of a wetland in the intercoastal waterway of Northeast Florida and propose a theory of intrinsic value based on the philosophy of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead.[i]  Although we're unlikely to reach full agreement on some of these questions, I believe that we can come to agree enough on the intrinsic value of our environment to build a consensus in public policy. [i].  For the most exhaustive statement of the philosophy of nature relied on here see G.H. Mead, Philosophy of the Act, Charles Morris ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1938).  For John Dewey's version, see Dewey , 1929, Experience and Nature, 2nd ed. (La Salle: Open Court).

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عنوان ژورنال:

دوره 37  شماره 2

صفحات  107- 123

تاریخ انتشار 2009-11-22

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