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(verified) * Correspondence to: Prof. Dr. Hab.

Włodzimierz Tyburski, Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Fosa Staromiejska 1a, 87-100 Torun´, Poland. E-mail: Sustainable Development Sust. Dev. 16, 100–108 (2008) Published online 12 November 2007 in Wiley 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 infl uences 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 signifi cant achievements of these disciplines on a global scale. The infl uence 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




COMPEL US to intensify

and integrate the organizational efforts of whole communities and search for various ways to halt adverse processes. We need varied technical and technological actions, an active effort in many scientifi c fi elds (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, justifi cations and motivations.

it makes its own signifi cant contribution to the work of building new thought about humans and the natural world. in order that moral values should represent an important criterion regulating these relations. They are also contributing signifi cantly to the theory and practice of ecological education as well as to specifi c actions in the sphere of protecting the natural world. eco-psychology. . The consciousness of the need to protect the nature is confi rmed by philosophical–ethical refl ection by the effects of its results. eco-aesthetics or eco-theology. phenomena and tendencies. Ltd and ERP Environment Ecological Philosophy. This is best seen in the unquestionable contribution of ecological philosophy to the construction of the foundations of the idea fi rst of eco-development and now of sustainable development. In turn. They should also temper potential confl icts 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. aiming to project a vision of the future and to build a model of civilization orientated towards ecological needs. They complement the natural sciences. Both ecological philosophy and environmental ethics have clearly defi ned the object of their research interests and have already achieved a high level of methodological self-awareness. axiological and educational dimensions. 16. There is the need to refer theoretically to global processes. ethical refl ection presents and justifi es 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. including philosophical. 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. adapting it for their needs.1002/sd dangerous for the natural world. also defi ned as ecological humanism. Therefore. to reveal their mechanisms and also to engage actively in the stream of practical actions. on the one hand. ecological philosophy strives to show the collection of philosophical. for example. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. An integral component is philosophical–ethical thought together with other disciplines of the humanities: ecopedagogy. with a range of new components.This fi eld of activity includes environmental protection. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 101 Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. economics and law. 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 Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Dev. On the other hand.

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 identifi cation with everything that surrounds us. His philosophy proclaimed the idea of harmonious accord and interdependence of the natural and human worlds. Since then their rapid and dynamic development has been visible. By discovering the primary text of nature we can begin an authentic dialogue with it. 1992) openly criticized the purely utilitarian treatment of nature. in which the most important positions were held by such thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson. together with their object of interest. Their works give voice to the idea of respect for nature. It owes its peculiar properties to its various dimensions. mainly in the United States. This skill of communing with nature and conducting his own interpretation of dialogue with it was . since they can perceive its internal order and harmony. Language only fulfi ls this kind of role 102 W. Henry David Thoreau. gaining a relatively high degree of resonance. were established in a reasonably mature form in the 1960s and 1970s. It is Emerson’s belief that language is of particular importance in revealing the true nature of existence.International Perspective Ecological philosophy and environmental ethics. The philosopher was convinced that nature could become a kind of teacher for people. 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. 16. Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.1002/sd when we discover its deepest meanings. Dev. What is needed is a change in looking at ourselves and at what surrounds us. embracing with a ‘new look’ our existence in its substantial unity with the world. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. It found followers among representatives of New England transcendentalism – a literary–philosophical movement with a diverse ideological provenance. forgotten in everyday life. we need to go back to the second half of the 19th century. In order to reach the earliest sources and the emergence of ecological thought. This aim is unattainable for those who limit themselves to narrowly utilitarian actions and what is called scientifi c reason. Without opposing people’s technical intervention in the world of nature. Emerson (Gromczyn´ski. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. when such a trend appeared in American literature. Tyburski Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. which are based on expressing the primary text of nature.

considered to be the father of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics in its various versions. full of admiration for nature. Among others to fi nd themselves under the spell of these ideas was John Muir. for its own sake. but I respect them both equally. author of the famous and excellent essays collected under the title ‘Walden. He thus initiated. an eminent activist in the fi eld of environmental protection. 1854). then formulating an additional postulate – the protection of nature. or Life in the Woods’. declaring ‘like the majority of people I am drawn to both the sublime and the sphere of the primitive and the wild. Thoreau. 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. 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. He emphasized that nature as a whole. He was the precursor of the idea of the protection of wild nature and a eulogist for wilderness. who called for these areas to be left untouched by human activity and declared the superiority of wild animals over domestic ones. the position in the matter of environmental protection that is defi ned as preservation. In these essays he expressed his love for wild nature. Nature should be considered as an ethical good to which humans should show commitment. particularly regarding areas of wilderness in the United States. 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 benefi t. whose supporters strive to preserve the environment and to leave it in a state changed as little as possible. I love wildness no less than goodness’ and he added ‘goodness is the only investment that never disappoints’ (Thoreau. His literary output. particularly wild nature. It is he who has most expressively presented the main principle of the idea of preservation. These ideas also touched the style of Aldo Leopold. had a value in its own right and had the right to exist and to last in the form most appropriate for it. This is why in his well known book A Sand County .mastered by H. and not selected wild areas as Muir postulated. on a practical level. Tolstoy. Gandhi. D. The duty of humans is to respect this fact. was also a kind of manifesto declared in defence of wild nature. and above all it formed the American mentality.

He proposes a new way of thinking. With some justifi cation. 1948) he presents the proposition of the so-called land ethic. the academic philosopher J. Dev. 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 justifi cation and found inconsistencies in his thinking. which from the start poses the question not only as to what is profi table from the economic point of view. and thanks to his professional preparation was able to avoid the mistakes and transgressions of which his predecessor was accused. analogously as we take obligations upon ourselves which are often bound up with renouncement towards our family. Callicott provided the philosophical bases for the holistically orientated ecological philosophy. especially the committing of the naturalistic error. What is not right. Callicott’s views became the direct inspiration for the creative activity of one of the most eminent .Almanac (Leopold. connected with the obligation of protecting all component parts of the biotic community. is what is not benefi cial for this. stability and beauty of the biotic community. but also what is ethically and aesthetically right. Leopold claims. but also requires sacrifi ces for its good. His unquestionable achievement is the creative development of the idea of the ethic of communities. creatively developed the thinking of the author of the land ethic. Leopold criticizes the system of nature protection based exclusively on economic benefi ts while ignoring many elements of the earth’s community that have no utilitarian values but are indispensable for it to function healthily. Here ethics plays an unusually far-reaching role. This ethic widens the borders of the biotic community. is based on the conviction that what is right is what benefi ts the preservation of the coherence. on the other hand. Leopold’s thoughts from his book A Sand County Almanac played an inspirational role in establishing this style of thinking. Leopold’s heir and continuator. Leopold is widely recognized as the precursor of these disciplines. Baird Callicott Ecological Philosophy. For this philosopher. friends and country. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. The correct answer to this.1002/sd (1989). Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 103 Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. which generated the new disciplines of refl ection of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. its theoretical justifi cation and also the construction of a new way of thinking called the ecocentric paradigm. 16. holistic ethics is not only connected with certain obligations towards Earth. then.

the way of looking at the problem of the environment through the prism of the good of individual beings is predominant. and also that the achievement of its good has an intrinsic value of itself. He evoked the principles and rules that should be followed by politics with regard to the natural environment. in accordance with traditional ethics. Taylor. Rolston’s considerations are representative of environmental philosophy and ethics in their holistic version (Rolston. He strived to construct a naturalistic concept of environmental ethics. which means that we can think of them as deserving moral treatment and commitment. population or group of organisms as entities with innate value. as long as we consider an organism. He indicated the link between facts and values. population and community of living beings possesses good (welfare) and intrinsic value. including an analysis of the weighty and diffi cult subject of the transition from values to facts and the search for a way to avoid the naturalistic error. because of it. Taylor’s concept. In this. In this context. . he emphasized that such a transition is basically impossible from the point of view of formal logic. but at the same time. we believe that they can never be treated as objects or things whose whole value depends on fulfi lling an instrumental function simply because they are members of the earth’s living community. is one of the best known versions of environmental ethics. Thus. 1986). he analysed business relations. He developed the idea of holistic philosophy with the primacy of the good of whole ecosystems over individual good. if we say that an entity has an innate value. 1989). called ‘respect for nature’ (Taylor. He devoted much space in his considerations to the issue of values. 1989). Holmes Rolston III. These disciplines focus on whole ecosystems and in practical postulates to place the good of the whole above the good of individual beings. while he based the relations of humans and nature by evoking the category of responsibility. then that means that its good deserves to be the object of refl ection of moral subjects. The attitude of respect for nature should result from the conviction that every organism. This fact differentiates Rolston’s views from the biocentrically orientated environmental ethics of Paul W. which is simultaneously individualistic ethics. especially business ethics with regard to the natural environment. taken on the local and global scale. According to the creator of the respect for nature ethic.representatives of holistic ecological philosophy. achieving their good is something intrinsically valuable. For this reason. a person of great merit in the global ecological movement (Rolston. he spoke on many signifi cant issues included in considerations on sustainable development.

Tyburski Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. what system of education. what religions are most benefi cial for life on this planet as a whole’. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. rejects the moral status of non-human beings and thereby the widening of the scope of morality (Passmore. Another. 1980). that human actions regarding the natural environment and its non-human inhabitants are actually dependent on whether they fulfi l two criteria. according to the concept maintained in the spirit of anthropocentrism. these duties and actions lose their moral character when their only and direct addressee is the environment. namely (a) whether their consequences are 104 W. 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-suffi cient bioregions and lifestyles motivated by postulates of restrained consumerism. . reasons that the essence of ecological thinking is the posing of deep questions about ‘what society. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. 16. whose name stresses the fact that in its postulates it decidedly exceeds the way of thinking characteristic of shallow ecology.. We can say. and one of the most popular trends in current environmental thought. 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. Thus we can have obligations that concern the natural ecosystems and biocentric communities of our planet. Deep ecology expresses a decided criticism of the positivist–technocratic model of the development of civilization. The duties formulated on the basis of anthropocentrically orientated environmental ethics have moral character only because of their fi nal receiver. 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. so humankind. whose best known representative is John Passmore. The creator of deep ecology. Within this way of thinking. 1988). the eminent Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.On the other hand. the anthropocentric version of the environmental protection ethic. and he adds that social and humanist knowledge cannot diverge from the answers to these questions (Seed et al. It proposes new ecological thinking. aggressive market economics and the consumer lifestyle. Dev. therefore. is deep ecology.1002/sd benefi cial (or detrimental) for human prosperity and (b) whether they comply (or do not comply) with the system of norms that protect human rights.

Taylor. At the basis of this change should be the conviction that forms of life do not form pyramids with our species at the summit. Lovelock. they believe that raw materials and other natural goods are not only for people. Regan. In 1992. Marek M. E. Midgley. Among other philosophers we will mention A. deep ecology. M. 1990). One of the fi rst papers was On the Idea of Ecological Humanism (Tyburski. Baird Callicott. They demand deep and radical change in the consciousness of society. B. the ecocentric theory of Holmes Rolston III. Edward Goldsmith’s biosphere ethics and eco-ethics by Henryk Skolimowski. but rather a circle in which everything is linked with everything. Nash. S. but also for all living beings. Rollin. J. extending moral rights to non-human beings. In 1993. W. analyses the concepts of Tom Regan. Goldsmith. Sweed and others. 1992). the author focuses above all on highlighting and analysing the axiological. a book by the present author entitled Unite with the Earth. the individualistic ethics of Robin Attfi eld. K Franken. referring to the vast literature. In scientifi c study they place a broad defi nition of science and holistic thought before a narrow defi nition and analytical thought. J. the ethical implications of the Gaia hypothesis. Bonenberg’s book Environmental Ethics: Assumptions and Directions was published (Bonenberg. Around the Issues of Ecological Humanism (Tyburski. Polish Perspective In Poland ecological philosophy and environmental ethics became the object of serious interest and studies at the end of the 1980s. He presents a system of values elaborated on its basis (eco-values). Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 105 . Attfi eld. seeks a better form for the relations between people and other living beings inhabiting Earth. deontological and educational dimension of the new discipline. C. Therefore. T. the next publication devoted to the problem of environmental ethics was published. speaking in the name of and on behalf of all forms of life. Its supporters contend that it is a misconception of the human race that we identify all values with human values. The majority of these publications referred directly to the views of the aforementioned representatives of eco-philosophical thought. the land ethic by Aldo Leopold and J. which was the fi rst very competent presentation of the main standpoints in environmental ethics in Polish literature. Clark. a set of norms Ecological Philosophy. W. the ethic of respect for nature by Paul W. Hargrove. R. indicating their own standpoints and ways of thinking.Deep ecology. 1993). E. Alongside a presentation of the main standpoints in environmental ethics. developing them creatively. The author.

The result of the very fruitful deliberations was the publication Eco-Philosophy and Bioethics (Tyburski. taking a biocentric point of view and arguing for the recognition of the following points: • not only humans. the fruit of a symposium in which researchers interested in the connections between ecology. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. was the Sixth Convention of Polish Philosophy in Torun´. two important works were published devoted to environmental ethics. Dev. 1996) deserves particular attention.Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. Hull. In line with its title. 16. 1998). which included papers by Z. Pia/tek. Z. 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. An important event. Zdzisl ´awa Pia/tek is the author of a very interesting dissertation entitled Environmental Ethics. A. M. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. 1996a). 1996b). • not only humans.1002/sd and principles of behaviour and a programme of ecological education as seen from the perspective of environmental ethics. have an intrinsic value. A New Look at the Place of Humans in Nature (Pia/tek. but also non-human living beings. a section was created devoted to the issues of environmental ethics. Dol ´e/ga. The directions of the considerations presented in it provide a catalogue of far-reaching questions. eco-philosophy and bioethics. In 1998. W. His dissertation entitled The Ecological Crisis in the Light of Eco-Philosophy (Waloszczyk. Papuzin´ski and others. This fact is highlighted by the title of the work: Economics–Ecology–Ethics (Tyburski. Tyburski. . in 1995. it proposes a new look at non-human living beings that make up the Earth’s biosphere. realize their characteristic vital values and know how to live in accordance with their own nature. but also non-human living beings. that had repercussions on the further development of environmental ethics and ecological philosophy. For the fi rst time. J. The issues dealt with in the aforementioned publication were drawn on in a further collective work. economics and ethics presented the results of their investigations.

who. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. despite theoretical and methodological differences. 1998). but also every living being. and that the world of human relations with nature has a deep axiological dimension which requires theoretical refl ection and practical action.1002/sd development (Hull.• not only humans. Introduction to Culturist Ecological Philosophy (Papuzin´ski. assimilation of this knowledge by society may transform the existing world. Jan Wawrzyniak analyses the problems of environmental ethics from another. Theoretical and Practical Implications (Tyburski. The fullest expression and analysis of the ecological problem. for many years. By highlighting the social role of philosophy. 1999). Dev. Selected issues in environmental ethics are analysed from the same position by the priests Tadeusz S´lipko and Andrzej Zwolin´ski in the book entitled The Crossroads of Ecology (S´lipko and Zwolin´ski. 1995). The conference gathered nearly all the researchers specializing in this discipline. which found its full expression in the book Life-Science-Ecology. 1998) was published. had the common conviction that what is happening at the meeting point of ethics and ecology is very signifi cant. It is also worth noting that there have been attempts to construct an environmental ethic from the position of Christian thought. presenting the results of the fi rst national conference devoted to various aspects of environmental ethics. The biosphere should not be exploited and managed only from the point of view of human interests. He proposed the interesting concept of culturist ecological philosophy. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. culturist ecological philosophy transforms the problem of the natural environment into knowledge about the ecological diffi culties of contemporary culture. naturalistic position. The same year a collective work entitled Environmental Ethics. . 1999). Dol ´e/ga (1998). 16. is to be found in the works of Józef M. however. he pays particular attention to the philosophical foundations of sustainable 106 W. Tyburski Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. 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. is a measure of those aspects of the environment with which it must cooperate in order to live. been discussed and analysed by Zbigniew Hull. The works of Andrzej Papuzin´ski also deserve attention. Different aspects of ecological ethics and philosophy have.

Five authors undertook this task: K. 1999). A survey of the main standpoints in eco-ethics is provided by Ignacy S. Pyra devoted to the ´ . a survey and analysis of the basic catalogue of the subjects of eco-philosophy are presented in the latest book by Stefan Konstan´czak. mainly devoted to the needs of academic didactics. 1999). Theoretical Foundations of Naturalistic Environmental Ethics (Wawrzyniak. while Andrzej Kiepas examines various aspects of the ecological problem from the perspective of technical philosophy. It should also be mentioned that in 1999 a collective work. 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. L astowski. In turn. Pawl ´owski is also the editor of two volumes of dissertations on the subject of philosophical and social conditions for sustainable development (Pawl ´owski 1999. In turn. S. Artur Pawl ´owski speaks on the subject of humans’ responsibility for nature. the problem of environmentalism is popularized by Wiesl ´aw Sztumski. that was also the fi rst academic textbook from the fi eld of ecological philosophy. including a very a vast dissertation. referring to Hans Jonas’s concept of responsibility. 2003. 2004). while philosophical premises found at the basis of the concept of sustainable development are analysed by Leszek Gawor. Fiut in a book presenting the directions of environmentally friendly contemporary axiology (Fiut. was published under the title An Introduction to the Philosophical Problems of Ecology (Papuzin´ski. 2002) – the result of a conference organized by the Centre of Human Ecology and Bioethics at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyn´ski University in Warsaw. The second. signifi cantly broadened and modifi ed. Papuzin´ski. The degree of advancement of research on ecophilosophical problems led to a fi rst attempt to sum up the achievements so far. Dol ´e/ga and A. it also takes into account the output of Polish eco-philosophical and eco-ethical thought of the last dozen or more years. 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. M. J. James Lovelock’s Gaia concept and Arne Naess’s concept of deep ecology. Of the latest publications worthy of note is an interesting monograph by L. 2000). edition of the book is currently being prepared. Tyburski. Hull. Z. W.

Z. Ltd and ERP Environment Sust. provides a one-sided interpretation of reality. this idea redefi nes humans’ relationship with the surrounding natural reality and reveals a new optic of . There is no saving the Earth without a change in our consciousness. therapeutic consciousness par excellence. In this very brief review of the standpoints. Let us add that ecological philosophy and environmental ethics at last have their own journal. and that these disciplines are systematically taught at many Polish universities. Skolimowski proposes a holistic vision – one that gives a proper perspective of the wholes. within the framework of which the place of its individual fragments can be revealed. D. trends and orientations of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics.views of Holmes Rolston III (Pyra. which is not a negation of the value of progress. Kos´micki. Z. A. according to Skolimowski. Francuz. 100–108 (2008) DOI: 10. The Ecological Philosophy. This philosopher says that the paradigm of mechanistic and positivist thought. analytical and pragmatic understanding to ecological understanding. Jaronie. being a holistic. M. including W. Latawiec. A. nor of the value of science. Instead of atomistic tunnel vision. E. J. from mechanistic. Skowron´ski. Wróblewski and S. At the basis of the new consciousness lies the assumption that the world is a sanctuary. Zie/ba. 2003). 16. and at the same time being in opposition to mechanistic consciousness. another way of perceiving humans in the whole scheme of nature. we must mention the works of Henryk Skolimowski. but another way of reading reality. 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. His writing has found a permanent place in eco-philosophical thought. If we wish to declare peace with the Earth. Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development 107 Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons. which is at the basis of the developmental trends of modern civilization. integrating. L´ epko. Liszewski.1002/sd direction of creative transformations should lead. The problem of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics is also found in the works of other authors. In Skolimowski’s opinion. Bol ´oz. then above all we must change our predatory. G. Pawl ´owski). De/bowski. materialistic consciousness to a reverential one. Z. Problems of Eco-Development (edited by A. Dev. Migus. parasitic. J. It is to such a concept of discovering the world that ecological consciousness fully corresponds. Ciszek.

opting for biocentrism. says Skolimowski. 1989. 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. Also in Poland. and all indicate the need to . based on veneration. political and even religious thinking. ecological philosophy is a matrix of a new understanding of the cosmos and of a proper cooperation with nature and the whole world. all agree on the role of ethics in the ecological education of society. among them in Hope is the Mother of the Wise or Living Philosophy (Skolimowski. Therefore. on the different perceptions of a supreme value and theoretical questions of justifi cation. our way of thinking was dominated by perceiving the world from an economic perspective. The role of one of the supreme values in this ethic is taken on by responsibility – responsibility for one’s own life. but as an example let us focus on a few selected matters. In the area of environmental ethics. What we should do is to see the reality surrounding us through ecological spectacles. the problem of ecological philosophy and environmental ethics is an area where academic discussion of various options.varied relations with it. It is not possible to present the wealth of discussion here. The objects of heated debate and sometimes trenchant polemics are the various views on the place of humans in the universe. the prosperity of future generations. also through various judgements on contemporary culture and civilization. Today. standpoints and directions is conducted. 1993). It is this philosopher’s belief that. as well as the concept of the development of the world and the vision of the future. In addition. to think well. there are also many common areas. we must take the role of custodian and carer. discussions and polemics continue mainly between followers of anthropocentrism and representatives of weak anthropocentrism together with those who question the homocentric point of view. is to think ecologically. behaving with respect and love for the whole of life and the environment. respect and reverence. This concerns technical. Such an attitude is at the same time an axiological principle of ecological ethics. 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. until now. In the world regarded as a sanctuary. the environment and the future of the whole planet. Conclusion Despite differences revealed between individual viewpoints. They are presented in many publications.

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