Is There Intrinsic Value In Nature?

3119 words - 13 pages

Intrinsic Value PAGE 1
Running head: INTRINSIC VALUE OF NATUREIs There Intrinsic Value in Nature?Debra A FosterUniversity of Maine at FarmingtonPHI101Dr. George MillerAbstractThe definition of intrinsic and extrinsic (instrumental) value will be shown. The author will relate her own view of intrinsic and extrinsic value. The viewpoint of Aldo Leopold on the land ethic will be examined. This author's interpretation of Leopold's views will be presented. The extrinsic value of nature, as seen by William F. Baxter, will be examined. The author's reaction to Baxter's theory will be discussed. The author's own views on the intrinsic and objective value of nature will be put forth.Is There ...view middle of the document...

Who decides if something has value? This is a philosophical discussion, so the philosophers of this world must decide. This is where the big debate comes in. If we add our topic of nature what will happen?Does Nature have Intrinsic Value?According to Holmes Ralston III, "Intrinsic contrasts with instrumental; subjective with objective; and we next map these terms onto each other and the natural world. Intrinsic value may be found in human experiences which are enjoyable in themselves, not needing further instrumental reference-an evening at the symphony, or one listening to loons call. Beyond this, intrinsic natural value recognizes value inherent in some natural occasions, without contributory human reference. The loons ought to continue to call, whether heard by humans or not. But the loon, while nonhu​man, is itself a natural subject. There is something it is like to be a loon; its pains and pleasures are expressed in the call. Those who cannot conceive of nonexperienced value may allow nonhuman but not nonsubjec​tive value. Value exists only where a subject has an object of interest."(Pojman, 1994, p. 1, para.4)Ralston III clearly extends the valuation of nature to include nonsentient beings. These beings are capable of at least motor-affective response. He seems to argue the fact that nature does have intrinsic value.Ralston III further argues, "Centres of experience vanish with simpler animals. In the botanical realm, we find programmes promoted, life courses generated and held to, steering cores which lock onto an individual centeredness. There is a kind of "object with will," even though the feeling is gone. Every genetic set is, in that sense, a normative set; there is some "ought to be" beyond the "is," and so the plant grows, repairs itself, reproduces and defends its kind. If, after enjoying the Trillium in a remote woods, I step around to let it live on, I agree with this defense, and judge that here is intrinsic objective value, valued by me, but for what it is in itself. Value attaches to a nonsub​jective form of life, but is nevertheless owned by a bio​logical individual, a thing in itself. These things count, whether or not there is anybody to do the counting. They take account of themselves. They do what they will, which we enjoy being let in on, and which we care to see continue when we pass on. (Pojman, 1994, p. 2, para.1)On nature in general, Aldo Leopold states: "An ethic to supplement and guide the economic relation to land presupposes the existence of some mental image of land as a biotic mechanism. We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in."(White, 2003, p. 522, para.1) I believe Leopold is speaking of morality ethics.Leopold further explains "the biotic pyramid." He states, "Plants absorb energy from the sun. This energy flows through a circuit called the biota, which may be represented by a pyramid consisting of layers. The...

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