An Environmental Ethic of Home

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Environment, Space, Place


In this paper, I argue that our lives are situated in territories of natural and built environments that should be included in our conceptions of home. I maintain that this expanded conception is indispensable for an environmental ethic that is both well-grounded and practically efficacious. Thus, I take a serious look at the things, places, and others that ought to be included in our concept of home. In the first section I discuss persistent problems for dominant theories of environmental ethics, namely that they fail to connect or give equal weight to value in nature and valuing nature. In the second section, I rely on the work of Hans Jonas to show that ethical responsibility is central to any robust theory of ethics. Ethical theory requires both a source of value and a feeling of responsibility toward that value to be appropriately grounded. Sections three and four contain my arguments for a conception of home in an expanded sense. There I also argue that homes act as primal sites of responsibility, ones that establish both value in nature and a feeling that grounds an environmental ethic. The final section builds on this ground by providing a set of values or ideals to which individuals can commit in order to make their homes good ones in an ethicallycharged sense.


Philosophy, Religion and Liberal Studies

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