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Sustainable Development Sust. Dev. 16, 100–108 (2008) Published online 12 November 2007 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience. DOI: 10.1002/sd.342

Origin and Development of Ecological Philosophy and Environmental Ethics and Their Impact on the Idea of Sustainable Development
Włodzimierz Tyburski* Włodzimierz Tyburski, Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
ABSTRACT A critical review of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics is discussed in relation to the idea of sustainable development. The article makes reference to 19th century influences that inspired thought orientated towards protecting the natural environment, and then presents the stages of the development of ecological philosophy, the main standpoints and their representatives. The main features of Polish eco-philosophical thought are presented together with an outline of the most significant achievements of these disciplines on a global scale. The influence of environmental philosophy and ethics on social aspects of sustainable development is also presented. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Received 5 Febuary 2007; revised 7 May 2007; accepted 22 June 2007 Keywords: ecological philosophy; environmental ethics; anthropocentrism; biocentrism; holism; sustainable development


various ways to halt adverse processes. We need varied technical and technological actions, an active effort in many scientific fields (natural sciences, economics and law) and on the part of organizers of social life, people representing different spheres and interests but united by a common idea, the struggle to halt the damage to the human natural environment. These disciplines possess a large number of possibilities to raise consciousness, creating attitudes, justifications and motivations. This field of activity includes environmental protection, also defined as ecological humanism. An integral component is philosophical–ethical thought together with other disciplines of the humanities: ecopedagogy, eco-psychology, eco-aesthetics or eco-theology. They complement the natural sciences, economics and law, with a range of new components, including philosophical, axiological and educational dimensions. Therefore, for example, on the one hand, ecological philosophy strives to show the collection of philosophical, cultural and world-view conditions that in the modern era have generated radically utilitarian positivist–technocratic thought and whose practical consequences have proved to be highly
* Correspondence to: Prof. Dr. Hab. Włodzimierz Tyburski, Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Fosa Staromiejska 1a, 87-100 Torun, Poland. E-mail: ´
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment


HE CONTINUING DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD OF NATURE AND THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS COMPEL US to intensify and integrate the organizational efforts of whole communities and search for

It is Emerson’s belief that language is of particular importance in revealing the true nature of existence. Dev. Their works give voice to the idea of respect for nature. when such a trend appeared in American literature. They should also temper potential conflicts between human activities and nature and enable such choices to be made that would favour the preservation of ecological balance in situations where humans intervene in the world of nature. Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller. in order that moral values should represent an important criterion regulating these relations. together with their object of interest. They are also contributing significantly to the theory and practice of ecological education as well as to specific actions in the sphere of protecting the natural world. The philosopher was convinced that nature could become a kind of teacher for people. This is best seen in the unquestionable contribution of ecological philosophy to the construction of the foundations of the idea first of eco-development and now of sustainable development. gaining a relatively high degree of resonance. What is needed is a change in looking at ourselves and at what surrounds us. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. In turn. This aim is unattainable for those who limit themselves to narrowly utilitarian actions and what is called scientific reason. It owes its peculiar properties to its various dimensions. Language only fulfils this kind of role Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. it makes its own significant contribution to the work of building new thought about humans and the natural world. Both ecological philosophy and environmental ethics have clearly defined the object of their research interests and have already achieved a high level of methodological self-awareness. Emerson believes that it is of much greater value when we forego the attitude of dominance and experience a fusion with nature and become conscious of our kinship and substantial identification with everything that surrounds us. we need to go back to the second half of the 19th century. ethical reflection presents and justifies the desirable hierarchy of values and enriches inordinately all attempts to answer the fundamental questions: how should people behave towards their natural environment and why should they act in this way? With this aim it wishes to develop an axiological model of preferences in the relations between humans and nature. It found followers among representatives of New England transcendentalism – a literary–philosophical movement with a diverse ideological provenance. There is the need to refer theoretically to global processes.1002/sd . in which the most important positions were held by such thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson. were established in a reasonably mature form in the 1960s and 1970s. His philosophy proclaimed the idea of harmonious accord and interdependence of the natural and human worlds. International Perspective Ecological philosophy and environmental ethics. The consciousness of the need to protect the nature is confirmed by philosophical–ethical reflection by the effects of its results. to reveal their mechanisms and also to engage actively in the stream of practical actions. mainly in the United States. embracing with a ‘new look’ our existence in its substantial unity with the world. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. 16. There is no doubt that the situation in which the modern world and civilization have found themselves represents a great challenge for philosophy and ethics.Ecological Philosophy. Henry David Thoreau. which – especially in the works of Emerson and Thoreau – stands out so distinctly that they remained in public consciousness – not only for their contemporaries – great apologists for and lovers of nature. adapting it for their needs. On the other hand. 1992) openly criticized the purely utilitarian treatment of nature. phenomena and tendencies. Emerson (Gromczyn ´ski. Since then their rapid and dynamic development has been visible. aiming to project a vision of the future and to build a model of civilization orientated towards ecological needs. In order to reach the earliest sources and the emergence of ecological thought. Without opposing people’s technical intervention in the world of nature. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 101 dangerous for the natural world. since they can perceive its internal order and harmony.

particularly wild nature. an eminent activist in the field of environmental protection. particularly regarding areas of wilderness in the United States. was also a kind of manifesto declared in defence of wild nature. 1854). These ideas also touched the style of Aldo Leopold. D. is based on the conviction that what is right is what benefits the preservation of the coherence. The correct answer to this. With some justification. This is why in his well known book A Sand County Almanac (Leopold. and not selected wild areas as Muir postulated. considered to be the father of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics in its various versions. Tyburski when we discover its deepest meanings. the position in the matter of environmental protection that is defined as preservation. stability and beauty of the biotic community. on the other hand. or Life in the Woods’. The ideas of the amateur philosopher and forester had enthusiastic followers but were also the subject of criticism on the part of those who practised philosophy professionally and indicated the lack of theoretical justification and found inconsistencies in his thinking. which are based on expressing the primary text of nature. Leopold claims. on a practical level. full of admiration for nature. declaring ‘like the majority of people I am drawn to both the sublime and the sphere of the primitive and the wild. Leopold’s heir and continuator. 1948) he presents the proposition of the so-called land ethic. but also what is ethically and aesthetically right. the academic philosopher J. His literary output. Thoreau’s book and Emerson’s philosophical thought became the source of inspiration for the world view of many creators and thinkers fascinated by this idea: Chekhov. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. What is not right. had a value in its own right and had the right to exist and to last in the form most appropriate for it. connected with the obligation of protecting all component parts of the biotic community. Nature should be considered as an ethical good to which humans should show commitment. forgotten in everyday life. It dismisses the belief in the purely ancillary role of nature towards humankind and does not accept utilitarianism because it confers value on nature only to the degree to which it is a requisite of human prosperity and benefit. Among others to find themselves under the spell of these ideas was John Muir. 16. Here ethics plays an unusually far-reaching role. Leopold’s thoughts from his book A Sand County Almanac played an inspirational role in establishing this style of thinking. He was the precursor of the idea of the protection of wild nature and a eulogist for wilderness. He proposes a new way of thinking. Gandhi. I love wildness no less than goodness’ and he added ‘goodness is the only investment that never disappoints’ (Thoreau. In these essays he expressed his love for wild nature. which generated the new disciplines of reflection of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics. He thus initiated. He emphasized that nature as a whole. whose supporters strive to preserve the environment and to leave it in a state changed as little as possible. Tolstoy. especially the committing of the naturalistic error. then formulating an additional postulate – the protection of nature. It is he who has most expressively presented the main principle of the idea of preservation. but I respect them both equally. Leopold criticizes the system of nature protection based exclusively on economic benefits while ignoring many elements of the earth’s community that have no utilitarian values but are indispensable for it to function healthily. author of the famous and excellent essays collected under the title ‘Walden. Baird Callicott Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. and above all it formed the American mentality. This skill of communing with nature and conducting his own interpretation of dialogue with it was mastered by H. The duty of humans is to respect this fact. for its own sake. Leopold is widely recognized as the precursor of these disciplines. This ethic widens the borders of the biotic community. who called for these areas to be left untouched by human activity and declared the superiority of wild animals over domestic ones. is what is not beneficial for this. which from the start poses the question not only as to what is profitable from the economic point of view.1002/sd .102 W. By discovering the primary text of nature we can begin an authentic dialogue with it. Instead he expressed the view that the interests of non-human beings should be taken into consideration for their own sake and not only when they serve human aims and needs. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. Dev. then. Thoreau.

the anthropocentric version of the environmental protection ethic. creatively developed the thinking of the author of the land ethic. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. he spoke on many significant issues included in considerations on sustainable development. population or group of organisms as entities with innate value. The duties formulated on the basis of anthropocentrically orientated environmental ethics have moral character only because of their final receiver. On the other hand. holistic ethics is not only connected with certain obligations towards Earth. 16. but at the same time. The attitude of respect for nature should result from the conviction that every organism. according to the concept maintained in the spirit of anthropocentrism. Callicott provided the philosophical bases for the holistically orientated ecological philosophy. especially business ethics with regard to the natural environment. Thus. he emphasized that such a transition is basically impossible from the point of view of formal logic. taken on the local and global scale. population and community of living beings possesses good (welfare) and intrinsic value. while he based the relations of humans and nature by evoking the category of responsibility. the way of looking at the problem of the environment through the prism of the good of individual beings is predominant. He strived to construct a naturalistic concept of environmental ethics. Callicott’s views became the direct inspiration for the creative activity of one of the most eminent representatives of holistic ecological philosophy. called ‘respect for nature’ (Taylor. He evoked the principles and rules that should be followed by politics with regard to the natural environment. Within this way of thinking. This fact differentiates Rolston’s views from the biocentrically orientated environmental ethics of Paul W. its theoretical justification and also the construction of a new way of thinking called the ecocentric paradigm. a person of great merit in the global ecological movement (Rolston. is one of the best known versions of environmental ethics. and also that the achievement of its good has an intrinsic value of itself. For this reason. analogously as we take obligations upon ourselves which are often bound up with renouncement towards our family. Rolston’s considerations are representative of environmental philosophy and ethics in their holistic version (Rolston. It sees no need to construct any new ethics and believes that it is possible to solve environmental problems caused by civilization within the framework of the existing tradition. Dev. 1989). Taylor’s concept. He devoted much space in his considerations to the issue of values. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 103 (1989). which means that we can think of them as deserving moral treatment and commitment. in accordance with traditional ethics. but also requires sacrifices for its good. whose best known representative is John Passmore. he analysed business relations. achieving their good is something intrinsically valuable. 1989). that human actions regarding the natural environment and its non-human inhabitants are actually dependent on whether they fulfil two criteria. we believe that they can never be treated as objects or things whose whole value depends on fulfilling an instrumental function simply because they are members of the earth’s living community. because of it. then that means that its good deserves to be the object of reflection of moral subjects. therefore.1002/sd . which is simultaneously individualistic ethics. These disciplines focus on whole ecosystems and in practical postulates to place the good of the whole above the good of individual beings. For this philosopher. namely (a) whether their consequences are Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. so humankind.Ecological Philosophy. Taylor. including an analysis of the weighty and difficult subject of the transition from values to facts and the search for a way to avoid the naturalistic error. 1980). He developed the idea of holistic philosophy with the primacy of the good of whole ecosystems over individual good. Holmes Rolston III. According to the creator of the respect for nature ethic. these duties and actions lose their moral character when their only and direct addressee is the environment. We can say. rejects the moral status of non-human beings and thereby the widening of the scope of morality (Passmore. His unquestionable achievement is the creative development of the idea of the ethic of communities. as long as we consider an organism. He indicated the link between facts and values. if we say that an entity has an innate value. 1986). friends and country. and thanks to his professional preparation was able to avoid the mistakes and transgressions of which his predecessor was accused. In this context. In this.

Tyburski beneficial (or detrimental) for human prosperity and (b) whether they comply (or do not comply) with the system of norms that protect human rights. M. 1993). W. Lovelock. Deep ecology expresses a decided criticism of the positivist–technocratic model of the development of civilization. In 1993. S. He presents a system of values elaborated on its basis (eco-values). C. J. Dev. Polish Perspective In Poland ecological philosophy and environmental ethics became the object of serious interest and studies at the end of the 1980s. Thus we can have obligations that concern the natural ecosystems and biocentric communities of our planet. The majority of these publications referred directly to the views of the aforementioned representatives of eco-philosophical thought. Another. whose name stresses the fact that in its postulates it decidedly exceeds the way of thinking characteristic of shallow ecology. reasons that the essence of ecological thinking is the posing of deep questions about ‘what society. Taylor. the ecocentric theory of Holmes Rolston III. the eminent Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess. is deep ecology. R. Around the Issues of Ecological Humanism (Tyburski. and he adds that social and humanist knowledge cannot diverge from the answers to these questions (Seed et al. speaking in the name of and on behalf of all forms of life. B. Baird Callicott. T. aggressive market economics and the consumer lifestyle. the next publication devoted to the problem of environmental ethics was published. Marek M. developing them creatively. seeks a better form for the relations between people and other living beings inhabiting Earth. but these obligations are always based on the fact that how we treat these ecosystems and living communities can only affect the realization of human values and rights. and one of the most popular trends in current environmental thought. Midgley. 1992). Bonenberg’s book Environmental Ethics: Assumptions and Directions was published (Bonenberg. 1990).. J. Rollin.104 W. the land ethic by Aldo Leopold and J. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. extending moral rights to non-human beings. Attfield. which was the first very competent presentation of the main standpoints in environmental ethics in Polish literature. Nash. The author. W. K Franken. Among other philosophers we will mention A. Sweed and others.1002/sd . deep ecology. Therefore. the concept of ‘green politics’ aimed at protecting and defending the wealth and variety of forms of life and in the sphere of economics ‘green economics’ responsible for action on behalf of economically self-sufficient bioregions and lifestyles motivated by postulates of restrained consumerism. deontological and educational dimension of the new discipline. E. In scientific study they place a broad definition of science and holistic thought before a narrow definition and analytical thought. a book by the present author entitled Unite with the Earth. 16. Hargrove. the author focuses above all on highlighting and analysing the axiological. the individualistic ethics of Robin Attfield. 1988). Clark. a set of norms Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. One of the first papers was On the Idea of Ecological Humanism (Tyburski. what religions are most beneficial for life on this planet as a whole’. but rather a circle in which everything is linked with everything. Alongside a presentation of the main standpoints in environmental ethics. referring to the vast literature. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. It proposes new ecological thinking. Regan. they believe that raw materials and other natural goods are not only for people. Its supporters contend that it is a misconception of the human race that we identify all values with human values. In 1992. Deep ecology. They demand deep and radical change in the consciousness of society. At the basis of this change should be the conviction that forms of life do not form pyramids with our species at the summit. indicating their own standpoints and ways of thinking. E. The creator of deep ecology. the ethic of respect for nature by Paul W. Edward Goldsmith’s biosphere ethics and eco-ethics by Henryk Skolimowski. analyses the concepts of Tom Regan. Goldsmith. but also for all living beings. the ethical implications of the Gaia hypothesis. what system of education.

´ski ´ were drawn on in a further collective work. In 1998. The works of Andrzej Papuzin also deserve attention. Dol e/ga. 1998). taking a biocentric point of view and arguing for the recognition of the following points: • not only humans.Ecological Philosophy. The conference gathered nearly all the researchers specializing in this discipline. Tyburski. he pays particular attention to the philosophical foundations of sustainable Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. A New Look at the Place of Humans in Nature (Pia/tek. How should people behave towards their natural surroundings and why should they behave thus? How far is economic rationality compatible with ecological rationality? In which direction should the economic transformation go in order that the effects of actions serving economic purposes should not cause negative ecological consequences? What catalogue of values can link ecological and economic policies? What elements form the contemporary ideology of environmental protection? The problem of ecological philosophy is the object of interest of Konrad Waloszczyk. that had repercussions on the further development of environmental ethics and ecological philosophy. Z. and that the world of human relations with nature has a deep axiological dimension which requires theoretical reflection and practical action. In line with its title. ´. The result of the very fruitful deliberations was the publication Eco-Philosophy and Bioethics (Tyburski. 1996a). it proposes a new look at non-human living beings that make up the Earth’s biosphere. is a measure of those aspects of the environment with which it must cooperate in order to live. for many years. Hull. assimilation of this knowledge by society may transform the existing world. Dev. eco-philosophy and bioethics. 1998). J. two important works were published devoted to environmental ethics. The directions of the considerations presented in it provide a catalogue of far-reaching questions. The issues dealt with in the aforementioned publication the fruit of a symposium in which researchers interested in the connections between ecology. but also every living being. An important event. • not only humans. The biosphere should not be exploited and managed only from the point of view of human interests. been discussed and analysed by Zbigniew Hull. a section was created devoted to the issues of environmental ethics. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 105 and principles of behaviour and a programme of ecological education as seen from the perspective of environmental ethics.1002/sd . culturist ecological philosophy transforms the problem of the natural environment into knowledge about the ecological difficulties of contemporary culture. M. W. By highlighting the social role of philosophy. was the Sixth Convention of Polish Philosophy in Torun in 1995. Different aspects of ecological ethics and philosophy have. which found its full expression in the book Life-Science-Ecology. Pia/tek. He proposed the interesting concept of cul´ski turist ecological philosophy. 1996) deserves particular attention. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. economics and ethics presented the results of their investigations. realize their characteristic vital values and know how to live in accordance with their own nature. Introduction to Culturist Ecological Philosophy (Papuzin ´ski. For the first time. but also non-human living beings. 1996b). have an intrinsic value. This fact is highlighted by the title of the work: Economics–Ecology–Ethics (Tyburski. • not only humans. 1998) was published. presenting the results of the first national conference devoted to various aspects of environmental ethics. which included papers by Z. 16. His dissertation entitled The Ecological Crisis in the Light of Eco-Philosophy (Waloszczyk. Theoretical and Practical Implications (Tyburski. who. The same year a collective work entitled Environmental Ethics. Papuzin and others. A. had the common conviction that what is happening at the meeting point of ethics and ecology is very significant. but also non-human living beings. despite theoretical and methodological differences. Zdzisl awa Pia/tek is ´ the author of a very interesting dissertation entitled Environmental Ethics.

100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. 1999). 2002) – the result of a conference organized by the Centre of Human Ecology and Bioethics at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyn University in Warsaw. including W. It should also be mentioned that in 1999 a collective work. provides a one-sided interpretation of reality. 1999). J. Fiut in a book presenting the directions of environmentally friendly contemporary axiology (Fiut. it also takes into account thebroadened and modified. W. Tyburski ´ development (Hull. James Lovelock’s Gaia concept and Arne Naess’s concept of deep ecology. Kos ´micki. Five authors undertook this task: K. Skowron ´ski. 1995). De/bowski. ´ It is also worth noting that there have been attempts to construct an environmental ethic from the position of Christian thought. L epko. that was also the first academic textbook from the field of ecological philosophy. Problems of Eco-Development (edited by A. a survey and analysis of the basic catalogue of the subjects of eco-philosophy are presented in the latest book by Stefan Konstan ´czak. Ciszek. 2004). Pawlowski). G. while Andrzej Kiepas examines various aspects ´ of the ecological problem from the perspective of technical philosophy. Z. Let us add that ecological philosophy and environmental ethics at last have their own journal. trends and orientations of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics. Pawl owski is also the editor of two volumes of dissertations on the subject of philosophical and social ´ conditions for sustainable development (Pawlowski 1999. His writing has found a permanent place in eco-philosophical thought. The problem of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics is also found in the works of other authors. 1999). This philosopher says that the paradigm of mechanistic and positivist thought. Zie/ba. S. Boloz. the problem of environmentalism is popularized by Wiesl aw Sztumski. The degree of advancement of research on eco-philosophical problems led to a first attempt to sum up the achievements so far. we must mention the works of Henryk Skolimowski. edition of the book is currently output of Polish eco-philosophical and eco-ethical thought of the last dozen or more years. significantly ´ being prepared. which is at the basis of the developmental trends of modern civilization. Dol e/ga (1998). M. J. In turn. Z. mainly devoted to the needs of academic didactics. D. Selected issues in ´priests Tadeusz Slipko and Andrzej ´ environmental ethics are analysed from the same position by the ´ Zwolin in the book entitled The Crossroads of Ecology (Slipko and Zwolin ´ski ´ski. ´ A publication entirely devoted to environmental ethics and the popularization of its ideas is a collective work entitled Environmental Ethics as a Challenge for the 21st Century (Czartoszewski. A. Of the latest publications worthy of note is an interesting monograph by L. Jaronie. J. ´ Wróblewski and S. The second. 2003). In turn.1002/sd . while philosophical premises found at the basis of the concept of sustainable development are analysed by Leszek Gawor. 2003. Z. Jan Wawrzyniak analyses the problems of environmental ethics from another. Latawiec. Z. The fullest expression and analysis of the ecological problem. E. however. A. Liszewski. Theoretical Foundations of Naturalistic Environmental Ethics (Wawrzyniak. ´ski A survey of the main standpoints in eco-ethics is provided by Ignacy S. 2000). in a vast dissertation. referring to Hans Jonas’s ´ concept of responsibility. Tyburski. This is predatory thinking regarding nature and it is in it that we should perceive the causes not only of ecological disasters but also social and ideological disasters. Papuzin ´ski. The Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. naturalistic position. Artur Pawl owski speaks on the subject of humans’ responsibility for nature. M. ´ Francuz. Pyra devoted to the views of Holmes Rolston III (Pyra. Migus. Dev. controversial discussion on the relations between humans and nature and what he calls a new look at the place and duties of humans in the world of nature. 16. L astowski. In this very brief review of the standpoints.106 W. Hull. Dole/ga and A. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. was published under the title An Introduction to the Philosophical Problems of Ecology (Papuzin ´ski. An example is the work by the priest Julisl aw L ukomski entitled An ´ ´ Attempt to Construct a Christian Ethic of the Natural Environment (L ukomski. including a very lively. and that these disciplines are systematically taught at many ´ Polish universities. is to be found in the works of Józef M. 1999).

They also stress the importance of forming ecological thought. In Skolimowski’s opinion. This concerns technical. all agree on the role of ethics in the ecological education of society.1002/sd . They are also united – in a more general way – by the desire to diagnose the causes of the ecological crisis that the modern world is experiencing. ecological philosophy is a matrix of a new understanding of the cosmos and of a proper cooperation with nature and the whole world. 1989. respect and reverence. the environment and the future of the whole planet. 16. Skolimowski proposes a holistic vision – one that gives a proper perspective of the wholes. based on veneration. but as an example let us focus on a few selected matters. to think well. Therefore. until now. nor of the value of science. conscience and an ecological attitude as indispensable elements of an ethical protection of the natural and human environment. sensibilities. this idea redefines humans’ relationship with the surrounding natural reality and reveals a new optic of varied relations with it. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. They are presented in many publications. then above all we must change our predatory. according to Skolimowski. the prosperity of future generations. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 107 direction of creative transformations should lead. another way of perceiving humans in the whole scheme of nature. Today. the problem of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics is an area where academic discussion of various options. Instead of atomistic tunnel vision. parasitic. opting for biocentrism.Ecological Philosophy. In addition. discussions and polemics continue mainly between followers of anthropocentrism and representatives of weak anthropocentrism together with those who question the homocentric point of view. Skolimowski is convinced that the ideas he proposes are able to provide the proper inspiration for all those who are looking for sense in a world threatened by civilization. 1993). In the area of environmental ethics. political and even religious thinking. There is no saving the Earth without a change in our consciousness. At the basis of the new consciousness lies the assumption that the world is a sanctuary. What we should do is to see the reality surrounding us through ecological spectacles. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. behaving with respect and love for the whole of life and the environment. The role of one of the supreme values in this ethic is taken on by responsibility – responsibility for one’s own life. which is not a negation of the value of progress. It is to such a concept of discovering the world that ecological consciousness fully corresponds. therapeutic consciousness par excellence. materialistic consciousness to a reverential one. Conclusion Despite differences revealed between individual viewpoints. standpoints and directions is conducted. within the framework of which the place of its individual fragments can be revealed. Also in Poland. If we wish to declare peace with the Earth. also through various judgements on contemporary culture and civilization. Dev. but another way of reading reality. It is this philosopher’s belief that. integrating. among them in Hope is the Mother of the Wise or Living Philosophy (Skolimowski. analytical and pragmatic understanding to ecological understanding. to elaborate the best concepts to solve this and to construct such a Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. as well as the concept of the development of the world and the vision of the future. says Skolimowski. from mechanistic. Such an attitude is at the same time an axiological principle of ecological ethics. we must take the role of custodian and carer. In the world regarded as a sanctuary. being a holistic. on the different perceptions of a supreme value and theoretical questions of justification. and all indicate the need to build systems of values (eco-values) and moral codes aimed at environmental problems. It is not possible to present the wealth of discussion here. our way of thinking was dominated by perceiving the world from an economic perspective. The objects of heated debate and sometimes trenchant polemics are the various views on the place of humans in the universe. is to think ecologically. there are also many common areas. There is no doubt that the representatives of all the directions in environmental ethics are convinced of the need to broaden the ethical value and to subject human activity in nature to a moral evaluation. and at the same time being in opposition to mechanistic consciousness.

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