paper 2 Phil230

Submitted By tlav3030
Words: 560
Pages: 3

PHIL 230 Paper #2 Assignment
November 7, 2014

Thomas E. Hill’s Virtue Ethical Approach to the Environment

In this paper I will consider the arguments made by Hill in his essay entitled “Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments”. I will argue that they defend a virtue ethical approach to environmental ethics. I will show that by acknowledging the fact there it is not a way to argue that the destruction of nature is morally wrong, Hill shifts the focus to the idea that a person that would do such an act must be lacking some positive human traits or virtues or has undesirable character defects. I believe Hill shows a strong correlation between the possession of certain virtues and respect for the environment. Hill gives the argument that "though indifference to nonsentient nature is not itself a moral vice, it is likely to reflect ignorance, a self-importance, or a lack of self-acceptance which we must overcome to have proper humility". He states that most people are uneasy with the destruction or disrespect of nature and in order for someone to destroy the natural environment; he must not have an appreciation for his place in the natural order. Because such a person does not have an emotional attachment to the environment they do not have a humble view of their own place. Another aspect of humility to be considered is that of self-acceptance. In order to be humble, one must have the right kind of self-importance and self-understanding. This includes the acknowledgement that we are who we are. The failure to accept oneself is due to one's desire to deny features of oneself. Hill argues that experiencing nature promotes such a self-acceptance. If we cannot acknowledge that the same natural laws that govern all living things also govern humans, we cannot see ourselves as part of nature. By not seeing oneself as a part of nature, the destruction of nature seems acceptable. In order to gain this self-acceptance, one must see himself as he really is. Communing with nature can increase self-acceptance. This ability is considered a human excellence. Hill says that we must cherish things that bring us joy. In particular, we should cherish natural things such as the environment so