Terms Defined

Anthropocentrism- In environmental ethics it is the belief that humans are the most important and significant members on the planet. It believes that environmental ethics should focus on how it effects humans. It believes that humans are what give objects in the world value, and if an action is good for humans, it is a good action. —>Rationality, autonomy, consciousness, purpose driven

Anthropogenic - deriving solely from human valuations.

Biocentrism - looking to ensure the good of all living things. Paul Taylor explains biocentrism as recognizing "the interdependence of all living things in an organically unified order whose balance and stability are necessary conditions for the realization of the good of its constituent biotic communities." (EE, 75).

Conservation - When applied to environmental ethics the term means, "preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources. The use, protection, and improvement of natural resources according to principles that will ensure their highest economic or social benefits'"1

Domestication - The adaptation of a plant or animal so as to be cultivated by and beneficial to human beings2

Ecocentrism - A "standard" in environmental ethics that "subordinates both the effects of human culture and the interests of individual nonhumans" to the ecosystem as a whole. "…the philosophical justification for the ecocentric criterion lies ultimately with a reinterpretation of the relationship between the individual and the natural world as a whole" (MM 161)

Global Warming - Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century.

Instrumental Value - The value, as utility or monetary worth, assigned by someone or something upon someone or something else

Libertarianism - “each individual has an equal right to be free of interference from other people” (Wenz 671).

LULU - Locally Undesirable/Unwanted Land Use

Preservation - "An area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man is a visitor who does not remain" (EE 437)

Sentience - sense perception not involving intelligence or mental perception; feeling, awareness, consciousness. The sentience argument as a basis for animal rights is the recognition that animals are sentient beings.

Solipsism - (species solipsism) humans' inability to know for certain the nature of nonhuman animals' "mental lives," (Fellenz, 68). As many theories seeking to attribute equal moral standing to animals focus on the ability of nonhuman animals to suffer, a lack of knowledge of the nature and extent of that suffering, as well as its comparability to that of humans, creates many roadblocks for simple extensionist arguments.

Speciesism - "…a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of member's of one's own species and against those of members of other species" (MM 61).

Veil of Ignorance- The idea that we should use a veil of ignorance when deciding a social contract between humans and animals. Whatever seems immoral before you look at yourself as a human is immoral even when you are a human. You look at things as if you could end up as any creature in nature when making moral decisions. An example would be something like killing for fun. It is immoral to do so as a human because if i look at the situation from a position that i could end up as the animal being killed i would probably not want it in our social contract.

Tragedy of Commons- A situation in which a common resource is exploited, without regard to the others who share it. For example a fisherman might contribute to depleting a lake's fish population without taking into account the fishing practices of others using the lake or the rate at which the remaining fish would repopulate. Because it is a common resource people try to get as much out of it as they can before someone else does.

Zoocentrism - Sentience, ability to feel pain. Zoocentrism is a focus on our ethical treatment of animal species.

1. Fellenz, Marc R. The Moral Menagerie: Philosophy and Animal Rights. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
2. Ed. Andrew Light and Holmes Rolston III. Environmental Ethics: An Anthology Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
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