Of Geese and Eggs: In What Sense Should We Value Nature as a System?

Ivanhoe, Philip J.
March 2010
Environmental Ethics;Spring2010, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p67
In Conserving Natural Value, Holmes Roiston, III explores the question of why we should value nature as a system and illustrates the view he advocates with the story of the goose who lays golden eggs. The basic idea is that if we value the eggs, we should value the goose. By assuming that Roiston's fundamental point about the value of nature as a system is warranted, it is possible to extend his line of inquiry by arguing that this evocative metaphor actually captures a number of distinct views, and that it is important both conceptually and practically to distinguish these different possibilities as we contemplate and defend the values of the natural world.


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