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Foundations of a General Ethics: Selves, Sentient Beings, and Other Responsively Cohesive Structures

  • Warwick Fox (a1)

Everything we can refer to – physical, biological, psychological, or a human-created entity, institution, activity, or expression of some kind, and whether constituted of brute physical stuff or less tangible complexes of social arrangements, ideas, images, movements, and so on – can be considered in terms of its form of organization or structure. This applies even if what we want to say about these things is that they represent a disorganized or unstructured example of their kind or else that they simply lack any discernible form of internal organization or structure in the sense that their internal structure is undifferentiated or homogenous as opposed to being ‘all over the place’. We therefore live in a world in which everything can be characterized, either positively or negatively, in terms of its form of organization or structure. (The terms ‘form of organization’ and ‘structure’ can be used interchangeably in the context of this paper, although I will tend to use the term ‘structure’ in what follows.)

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Derek Penn , Keith Holyoak , and Daniel Povinelli , ‘Darwin's Mistake: Explaining the Discontinuity between Human and Nonhuman Minds’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (2008): 109178

Mary Anne Warren , Moral Status: Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)

Paul Taylor , Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986)

James Heffernan , ‘The Land Ethic: A Critical Reappraisal’, Environmental Ethics 4 (1982): 235247

Anthony Radford , ‘Responsive Cohesion as the Foundational Value in Architecture’, The Journal of Architecture 14 (2009): 511532

Anthony Radford , ‘Urban Design, Ethics, and Responsive Cohesion’, Building Research and Information 38 (2010): 379389

Christine Korsgaard (‘Two Distinctions in Goodness’, Philosophical Review 92 [1983): 169195)

John O'Neill draws attention to ‘The Varieties of Intrinsic Value’ in his paper by that name in The Monist 75 (1992): 119137

J. Baird Callicott , Larry Crowder , and Karen Mumford , ‘Current Normative Concepts in Conservation’, Conservation Biology 13 (1999): 2235

Graham Turner , ‘A Comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 Years of Reality’, Global Environmental Change 18 (2008): 397411

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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
  • ISSN: 1358-2461
  • EISSN: 1755-3555
  • URL: /core/journals/royal-institute-of-philosophy-supplements
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