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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2011). Respect for Nature: The Capabilities Approach. Ethics, Policy & Environment 14(2): 143-146.

Author(s) from Durham


In ‘Respect for everything,’ David Schmidtz offers powerful arguments in favour of a respect for nature over species egalitarianism (Schmidtz, this issue, pp. 127–138). While I accept much of his account, I argue that his understanding of respect may be too thin to perform its proper task. Instead, our use of respect should be grounded in the capabilities approach. This approach offers us a more substantive perspective through which we might best conceive respect. I will begin with an outline of the main argument in favour of respect for nature (and against species egalitarianism). The discussion will then close with how we might better understand respect.