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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes consequentialist theory in its application to environmental ethics. It discusses several types of consequentialist theories, including classical utilitarianism, biocentric consequentialism, and ecocentric (or holistic) consequentialism. It contrasts consequentialist environmental ethics with deontological, virtue theoretic, and pragmatist alternatives, and it offers some reasons for favoring a consequentialist environmental ethic while discussing challenges that consequentialist theories must meet in order to properly account for environmental issues. Although there are significant challenges for the development of consequentialist environmental ethics, it is in many respects a new field of inquiry, and there is hope that with further development it can be fleshed out more completely.

Keywords: consequentialism, utilitarianism, environmental ethics, intrinsic value, biocentrism, ecocentrism, holism

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