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Re-examining the Darwinian Basis for Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic

Millstein, Roberta L. (2015) Re-examining the Darwinian Basis for Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Many philosophers have become familiar with Leopold’s land ethic through the writings of J. Baird Callicott, who claims that Leopold bases his land ethic on a “protosociobiological” argument that Darwin gives in the Descent of Man. On this view, which has become the canonical interpretation, Leopold’s land ethic is based on extending our moral sentiments to ecosystems. I argue that the evidence weighs in favor of an alternative interpretation of Leopold; his reference to Darwin does not refer to the Descent, but rather to the Origin of Species, where Darwin discusses the interdependencies between organisms in the struggle for existence.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Millstein, Roberta L.rlmillstein@ucdavis.edu
Additional Information: Published in Ethics, Policy & Environment 18 (3): 301-317. Please note that 2015 is the correct year for citation purposes. (The publisher's PDF says 2016. They refused to correct this error. Beware this journal and other Taylor and Francis journals).
Keywords: Leopold, Darwin, Land Ethic, ecosystem, community, land pyramid, stability, interdependence, Descent of Man, Origin of Species, moral sentiment
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Dr. Roberta L. Millstein
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2016 02:16
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2016 02:16
Item ID: 11990
Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/215500...
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1080/21550085.2015.1111617
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Date: 1 August 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11990

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