What follows will support the centrality of appeals to the integrity of places as a plausible way of extending the concept of integrity in the light of our actual practices of valuing. The emphasis will, however, be upon practices of valuing rather than upon metaphysical claims about "inherent value”. The latter are not dismissed, they are merely set aside. The guiding thought is that our ethical theory should not depart too greatly from our understanding of how and what humans actually do hold to be of value in any particular culturally-shaped context. Following an introduction to the concept of integrity (Section 1
), the discussion will open with an attempt to show that we do sometimes value places non-instrumentally (Section 2
), even though we tend to look elsewhere to justify our respect for, and valuing of, places (Section 3
). It will then proceed through a defence of appeals to such valuing as ethically significant (Section 4
), before moving on to a provisional account of integrity as an effective way of making sense of what it is that we value when we value places in their own right (Section 5
). Unlike Rolston, who is strongly associated with the concept of integrity, the intention is not to go metaphysically deep and identify something akin to the moral properties of things. Rather, the concern will be with the kinds of considerations that agents would typically point to as a reason for valuing places without any deeper set of claims about inherent value. This provides a less troubling, more metaphysically “neutral”, way of addressing matters. The paper is intended for an audience working on Geoethics; however, the norms of argument will be those associated more narrowly with philosophical ethics.
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