Published: 2012-12-31

The Origin and Development of Environmental Ethics

Anita Ganowicz-Bączyk
Studia Ecologiae et Bioethicae
Section: Humanistic Foundations of Environmental Protection


The Origin and Development of Environmental Ethics People became aware of the destructive influence of environmental degradation on themselves not before the early 1960s (D. Brower, R. Carson, G. Hardin). Among authors whose reflections directly preceded the birth of environmental ethics as a single philosophical discipline one should list H.D. Thoreau, J. Muir, A. Leopold and A. Schweitzer. Environmental ethics sensu stricto appeared in the 1970s in the USA. One should emphasize here the opinions of the following authors: J. Cobb, W. Blackstone, J. Feinberg, Ch. Stone, A. Næss, R. Sylvan, J. Passmore, P. Singer, H. Rolston III, J. Rodman, G. Sessions, K.E. Goodpaster. Simultaneously V. R. Potter II worked out the global bioethics. In 1979 E. Hargrove founded the first academic journal on the field, entitled Environmental Ethics. Until now three key currents of environmental ethics have crystallized: anthropocentric, biocentric, and holistic (ecocentric). The differences between these branches are conditioned by the adopted model of nature and accepted anthropology. Environmental ethics should become more practical in resolving the real ecological problems we face.


environmental ethics, environmental crisis, nature

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Ganowicz-Bączyk, A. (2012). The Origin and Development of Environmental Ethics. Studia Ecologiae Et Bioethicae, 13(4), 39–63.

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