Source Publication

Environmental Ethics

Document Type


Publication Date

July 2009


Moves from is to good—that is, principles that link fact to value—are fundamental to environmental ethics. The upshot is fourfold: (1) for nonanthropogenic goods, only those moves from is to good are defensible which conceive goodness as goodness for biotic entities; (2) goodness for nonsentient biotic entities is contribution to their autopoietic functioning; (3) biotic entities also function “exopoietically” to benefit related entities, and these exopoietic benefits are on average greater than their own goods; and (4) the most general is-to-good principles that are defensible (and hence the ones of greatest importance for environmental ethics) concern a realm of nonanthropogenic goodness that encompasses both living and nonliving nature.

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