By Brian Baxter
In A thought of Ecological Justice, Baxter argues for ecological justice - that's, for treating species along with homo sapiens as having a declare in justice to a percentage of the Earth's assets. It explores the character of justice claims as utilized to organisms of assorted levels of complexity and describes the institutional preparations essential to combine the claims of ecological justice into human decision-making.
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Additional resources for A Theory of Ecological Justice (Environmental Politics Routledge Research in Environmental Politics)
Human beings have employed this language without much hesitation throughout their history, and in all times, places and cultures have been willing to give up their existing tools for new ones which promise to produce a better outcome. Sometimes this has been done with regret for the passing of the old ways bound up with a given set of tools, sometimes in the face of objections from others of their contemporaries based on religious or economic concerns, as with the Luddites and the Amish. This thought is at the heart of any materialist conception of history, and is central to the conception of human activity as praxis, which conveys the idea that in remaking their world human beings remake themselves.
These kinds of claim, whether valid or not, highlight the difficulty of determining to which ‘culture’ a given instance of constructivism is to be attributed. Once we allow that people, whatever their social position or group membership, can be subject to influences from apparently very different societies and cultures from the one they are said to inhabit, then the concept of social constructivism becomes extremely slippery. It looks as if, given an individual’s belief-system, we identify the appropriate culture which is said to have ‘constructed’ it as the culture within which it is reasonably common, whether or not we would otherwise identify the individual as a member of that culture.
There is always an irreducible element of judgement, covered in ‘prima facie’ and ‘ceteris paribus’ clauses. In any case, there are modes of ethical reasoning – virtue ethics, situation ethics, for example – which are also present within ‘modernist’ societies and which look rather more like the ethical mode of radical environmentalism than utilitarianism. Smith appears to be oversimplifying his account of the ethical thought of ‘modernity’ to make the desired contrast. However, his account of how one might be brought to adopt an attitude of caring for the non-human world is valuable and convincing, not least because he here breaks away from the social constructivist position.