What is it about?

For many years, it was deemed impossible for environmental ethics to formulate justified environmental policy. Environmental pragmatism, a new outlook in this regard, suggests that a community can determine what is morally righteous by taking multiple values into consideration. This article considers why it seems to be the case that the commitments of environmental pragmatism are self-contradictory.

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Why is it important?

As Bryan Norton, the main scholar in the field of environmental pragmatism, is heralded because of his offerings of environmental policy, my findings show a seemingly unsurmountable problem for him. This problem needs to be resolved in order to indeed propose righteous environmental policy.


I hope to illuminate a potential key problem environmental pragmatism faces. Although I myself do not make an effort in this paper to solve the problem, I hope that by critically assessing environmental pragmatism, others will be able to further strengthen the philosophy. And by doing so, to further advance proposals for addressing environmental issues.

Okke Loman
Universiteit Leiden

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A Problem for Environmental Pragmatism: Value Pluralism and the Sustainability Principle, Contemporary Pragmatism, December 2020, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/18758185-17040003.
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