Browsing by Subject "environmental ethics"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-6 of 6
  • Pihkala, Panu (2016)
    The 1941 Malvern Conference included significant environmental statements, which have gradually been forgotten. In this article I point out their relevance and discuss their possible influence. I analyse the background of these environmental statements and suggest that British theology has probably played a stronger role in environmentalism than has previously been understood. I analyse the ecotheological positions of Malvern and William Temple in the context of a typology of ecotheological stances as developed by Willis Jenkins. While the exact influence of Malvern is difficult to assess, I refer to sources which show that its environmental content was noticed by certain prominent thinkers and contributed, for its part, to the development of ecumenical ecotheology.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (2016)
    This article explores the possibilities offered by theories of recognition and identity politics for a better understanding of religious – in this case, Christian – environmentalism. Insights related to recognition are gleaned from literature in ecological theology. Themes for further research and possibilities for practical adaptation are explored. It is argued that theories of recognition help to understand the dynamics related to processes where a certain group asks for more recognition of nature. Identity questions and developments in environmentalism are clarified by an understanding of what happens when partial recognition is granted. The role of mutuality as a basis for recognition is widened by Arto Laitinen’s proposal for recognition as “adequate regard” for something, i.e. for an ecosystem. The complex relations between humans and non-human nature are explored through such themes as reciprocity and the question of “voices” of nature. Creaturely difference and the role of seeing a “face” in nature are discussed in relation to recognition. The significance of place and environmental conditions for recognition are probed. Special attention is given to Andrew Dobson’s application of Nancy Frazer’s theory of transformative recognition to environmental matters, which offers new ways of understanding the role of non-human nature in politics, ethics and discussions on justice.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (2016)
    In this article, I examine the early history of Christian environmentalism (“ecotheology”) in the twentieth century. I delineate four strands of early ecotheology: agrarian ecotheology; social Christianity; British contributions; and “post-liberal” foundations for later ecotheological movements. I show that ecotheology was a slowly-rising movement, which had notable proponents. I argue that these early ecotheologians are significant for several reasons. First, these writings support the view that there are momentous roots of environmentalism in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Second, these texts reveal important information about the relation of Christian and other environmentalism. Third, early ecotheologians contributed to discussion about themes which would later form distinctive environmental disciplines, such as environmental aesthetics, education, ethics, history and philosophy. Their thoughts offer interesting reflections pointing to these fields. Fourth, the contributions by the early ecotheologians are not only historically interesting, but they have relevance for the current discussion. These theologians were in a special position to notice the major changes brought by technological development in the twentieth century and they provided important critical reflections about these issues. Because they developed their thought independently, they display creative thinking, although often in an unfinished manner.
  • Tiisala, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Sustainability is a normative concept embedding ethical commitments. A central ethical issue in the sustainability debate and sustainability science regards moral standing. Moral standing is a philosophical concept that means that a being matters morally for their own sake and that there are direct duties owed to the being. It is widely accepted in contemporary ethics that, in addition to humans, at least some sentient nonhuman animals have moral standing. However, the dominant academic and political discourse of sustainability has hitherto focused only on the moral claims of humans without a critical examination of this anthropocentrism. In anthropocentrism, a view of moral standing, only humans have moral standing or they have a much higher moral standing than any nonhumans. Animal and environmental ethicists have questioned anthropocentrism through philosophical arguments. Nevertheless, the academic discourse of sustainability has been disconnected from the philosophical research on moral standing. There is, thus, a research gap in examining moral standing within sustainability science by drawing also on ethical research. This master’s thesis integrates the two distinct fields of knowledge, that is, sustainability science and ethical research on moral standing. The aim is to answer the following research questions: (1) What kind of anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability are there in sustainability literature? (2) What kind of conceptions of sustainability ensue from the main philosophical views of moral standing? (3) How plausible are the different anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability? The thesis applies the philosophical method for investigating the plausibility of alternative views. With animal ethical arguments, I defend the plausibility of a sentiocentric and unitarian conception of sustainability that considers the interests of all sentient beings equally. Also, I present a typology of the main anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability based on philosophical literature on moral standing. My typology characterises the key features of what I call the strong variety of anthropocentric sustainability, the weak variety of anthropocentric sustainability, sentiocentric sustainability, biocentric sustainability and ecocentric sustainability. In addition, this research employs interdisciplinary literature related to the topic and reviews the anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability in sustainability literature. Based on my analysis, I contend that the dominant conceptions of sustainability maintain anthropocentric speciesism, that is, discrimination according to species classification within an anthropocentric worldview. This bias is present, for example, in the conceptions of sustainability of the Brundtland Report, the United Nations’ Agenda 2030, the planetary boundaries framework as well as IPCC reports examined in this thesis. Some non-anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability are starting to emerge in academic discourses: interspecies sustainability, posthuman sustainability, ecocentric sustainability, multispecies sustainability, what I call multicriterial sustainability and defences of the animal ethical dimensions of sustainability. Hitherto, the discourse of sustainability has, still, rarely questioned anthropocentric speciesism. I argue that the anthropocentric conceptions of sustainability lack plausibility for five reasons. Firstly, it is morally wrong to engage in speciesist discrimination. It is wrong to disregard sentient nonhuman animals’ interests and equal duties owed to these creatures in the context of sustainability. Secondly, anthropocentric speciesism is connected to discrimination against certain animalised and marginalised humans, such as indigenous peoples. Thirdly, normative claims require ethical justification, which makes it unacceptable to assume anthropocentrism without critical examination. Sustainability science should consider ethical research on moral standing and aim at overcoming the speciesist bias through critical reflection. Fourthly, from a psychological perspective, it is valuable to oppose oppressive systems that, according to research by Melanie Joy, distance humans from reality and their authentic experience. Fifthly, the sentiocentric equality of all sentient beings protects environment and wellbeing by opposing the animal industry. Also the biocentric and ecocentric conceptions of sustainability lack plausibility, despite their non-anthropocentrism, as only sentient beings have interests. I conclude that there is a duty to embrace the sentiocentric and unitarian conception of sustainability that commits to the equality of all sentient beings, which eliminates discrimination. This conclusion entails a duty to transform the paradigm of sustainability science and the discourse of sustainability. In future research, it is essential to further develop this sentiocentric conception of sustainability, examine its possible challenges and how societies and the academic world could implement it.
  • Pihkala, Panu Petteri (2016)
    Plans for a Lutheran “eco-reformation” are complicated by the polarization of views related to environmental issues. I argue that there is a special reason to take the agenda of eco-reformation seriously: a widespread and often unconscious environmental anxiety, which posits a pastoral and existential challenge that must be addressed by the churches. I contextualize the challenge of eco-reformation in the historical context of Lutheran eco-theology. Finally, I briefly discuss two key themes for Lutheran eco-theology: God's presence in nature and the theology of the cross.