Look up the term Environmental Ethics at http://plato.stanford.edu/, then answer the following questions: Do you think that a book, a plant, or a building can be said to have a good of its own? Can things be done in its best interest? Does it have interests? Explain your answers and whether you think that this is a good reason to think of that as having intrinsic value.
Can books, plants, or a building have a good of its own? This is a tough question and in order to answer it we need to know what Environmental Ethics are and how it plays a role in this question. Stanford University defines environmental ethics as “the discipline in philosophy that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its non-human contents.” (Brennan and Lo) This means that environmental ethics is branching the ethics we use every day to make moral decisions to nature and the objects we deal with every day. In order to decide if an object has a good of its own let us look at this from a teleological point of view, which is a viewpoint that focuses on the best possible outcome for the majority of people. An impact that an inanimate object has on living things will help us decide on whether or not it has a good of its own (in this school of thought I am looking at “good of its own” as “inherent value”). With looking at it from this point of view we can now decide if a book has a good of its own, and the answer is, yes. Books bring value by providing information which is very important in the lives of humans. Next, we have plants, this is the easiest in my opinion, plants provide food, oxygen, and shade to all other living organisms which makes it necessary and meaning it has a good of its own. The last of the three on the list, buildings. Buildings do have a good of its own because it provides shelter from the harsh elements. All three of these have things that can be done in their best interest, plants require sunlight, so do not block sunlight from the plants for extended periods of time, buildings require maintenance, and books require a dry location so the pages do not become fragile. I think the only way to look at environmental ethics is by the extrinsic value for inanimate objects and by a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic for living objects.