Do we need environmental ethics?


  • Pavel Skála



environmental ethics


The paper argues some traditional concepts of environmental ethics. It describes it as a complex effort to sustain the moral values of human society (Polis) in the relation to the totally different (amoral) entirety of the nature of the universe (Physis).


The contribution states decrease of the importance of the traditional ethics at the brink of modern era and its partial substitution by the environmental ethics. The issues of this new situation and challenges connected with it are discussed here. The work refuses the pessimistic attitude of immoralists (or better, new moralists) who, trying to reach the free human nature, are challenging the traditional moral values of the community (Polis) on the basis of their concept of human nature and nature as such (for instance Friedrich Nietzsche). The work also refuses the optimistic approach which partially indicates a close connection between the goodness constructed by society and the goodness of the nature (for instance Erazim Kohák). Both these attempts are considered as an effort to cross over the existing human conduct and to change the human nature (physis) and man’s perception of nature, in the impracticable sense. Both the concepts are considered as attitudes incorporating the relationship of power towards the nature, the nature of the universe (Physis) because they talk about nature in a way as if they knew what it really is. The author, however, offers a concept of environmental ethics which attempts to search for, treat and strengthen such moral qualities in Polis enabling responsible search for the ways how to refer to the nature as a whole, distinctive by totally different rules and amoral in classical ethic issues. The work tries to underline some issues connected to thus perceived new ethics. For instance, environmental ethics as ideology is being discussed here, as well as the connection of morals and the faith in progress, various concepts of freedom in Polis and Physis, improvability in Polis and perfection of Physis, etc. All these problems, which the author considers to be not sufficiently examined in the Czech environment, could be elaborated in more detail in further environmental ethics explorations.


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16. 04. 2007

How to Cite

Skála, P. (2007). Do we need environmental ethics?. Envigogika, 2(1).



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