Environmental Ethics

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

in The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284238
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Environmental Ethics


Environmental ethics, as a field of philosophical study, began in the 1970s and 1980s, in part as a result of the environmental movement and largely in Anglo-American work. Its roots trace to the monumental technological discoveries of the twentieth century, such as nuclear power and chemical pesticides; their overuse or misuse; and recognition of the environmental degradation these technologies have caused. Two paradigm examples of how the misuse of technology has caused massive environmental damage and consequently raised new ethical questions are DDT and nuclear power. From the point of view of the relative importance of human interests, the new field of environmental ethics can be divided roughly into anthropocentric, non-anthropocentric, and mixed approaches.

Keywords: environmental ethics; environmental movement; chemical pesticides; misuse of technology; DDT; nuclear power

Article.  12761 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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