Minding Nature: Val Plumwood's Critique of Moral Extensionism

Diehm, Christian
March 2010
Environmental Ethics;Spring2010, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p3
It has been claimed that Val Plumwood's work is vulnerable to the same charge of "assimilationism" that she has leveled against moral extensionist viewpoints. It is argued that while one might regard Plumwood's position as suspect because of its emphasis on human-nature continuity, associating claims of continuity with assimilationism could lead one to seek a mode of relating to nature as absolutely other, a move which is claimed to be problematic for several reasons. Because the extensionist error is not simply that of acknowledging human-nature continuity, Plumwood's position is not extensionist in any objectionable sense. This issue is connected up with the ongoing debate about "perspectival anthropocentrism" in environmental ethics; however, allowing for human epistemic locatedness does not force the conclusion that all environmental ethics is ultimately assimilationist.


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