Week 2, Prompt 1: Norton’s Intrinsic Value


Upon reflection of Norton’s argument for weak anthropocentrism I ultimately believe that, though it is an inherently instrumental worldview, it offers an opportunity to incorporate a respect for nature into the decision-making processes that govern our daily activities and society at large. This of course is contingent upon whether or not there is a concerted effort to incorporate the moral ideals and scientific need of nature into the worldview that shapes the considered preferences on which weak anthropocentrism is founded. By acknowledging a worldview that incorporates and prioritizes nature, weak anthropocentrism, I feel, could offer a way to exist within the confines of nature that would work more towards fostering a relationship between the natural world versus catalyzing a rift between it.

Though weak anthropocentrism, in my opinion, offers a chance to ameliorate our rift with nature to some extent, I do feel that instrumental worldviews at large tend to contribute to our societal separation from nature. Such as with most strongly anthropocentric worldviews, human desires take precedence before any regard to nature. With this ideology and the behaviors it subsequently fosters, people tend to prioritize consumption with little thought as to how it affects the natural world and resources at large. Through more consumptive and more comfortable, lavish lifestyles people develop a disconnect from where their material goods originate and where they go after use: they appear on a shelf and then are whisked away by a dump truck with little to no second thought as to how it all ties into a larger picture.

Regardless of how considered and well thought out an instrumental view is, I feel that intrinsic value ultimately plays a key role for the preservation of nature by humans. In terms of policy action to protect and preserve natural areas and resources, relying strictly upon instrumental reasons and motives often requires a long process of compiling scientific evidence, which even then is subject to scrutiny and the whims of personal beliefs and preferences of how important or convincing the evidence. Furthermore, neglecting intrinsic value in the reasoning for preservation of nature undermines a large aspect of why preservation itself is so important. Though often founded on very subjective reasoning, nature in all its mysterious complexity and ever-adapting and changing state deserves its own place in the argument. Such as we value ourselves, we must too value where we derived.

In the debate of technology, I think that it both pushes society away from and simultaneously brings it more in touch with nature. As people increasingly rely on technology, whether it be through social media, dependence on its functions (electricity, transportation, food, packaging and manufacturing, medical), it seems to become easier to isolate one’s self from the surrounding nature and appreciation for where and how goods are sourced. On the other hand, technology plays a crucial role in sustainability adapting to our current population demands and many such technologies are powered and sourced from nature. To address our energy needs we turn to wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal and water, and to effectively and responsibility use them, we require a more in-depth understanding of each. In many products and goods, responsibly sourcing and manufacturing them requires too that we appreciate the natural limitations of where we derive them and how they are cycled back into the Earth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s