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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Simon Paul James

James, Simon P. (2016). The Trouble with Environmental Values. Environmental Values 25(2): 131-144.

Author(s) from Durham


If we are to assess whether our attitudes towards nature are morally, aesthetically or in any other way appropriate or inappropriate, then we will need to know what those attitudes are. Drawing on the works of Katie McShane, Alan Holland and Christine Swanton, I challenge the common assumption that to love, respect, honour, cherish or adopt any other sort of pro-attitude towards any natural X simply is to value X in some way and to some degree. Depending on how one interprets ‘value’, that assumption is, I contend, either false or vacuous. I argue that to assess the appropriateness of a person’s pro-attitudes towards a natural entity one must in some cases appeal to the concepts of status and/or bond, and not just that of value. To develop my argument, I appeal to the works of two nature writers – Robert Macfarlane and J. A. Baker.