Northern Arizona University: Environmental Ethics/Journals/Jeff Downard's journal
My aim in this first set of entries is to reconstruct Leopold's argument in "The Land Ethic". As I work through the parts of the argument, I will attempt to identify the key philosophical ideas and questions that are both explicitly and implicitly at play in the argument.
The first thing I note is that Leopold is making a historical comparison between the ethical values that helped to guide the lives of Greek citizens at the time of Homer and the ethical values that help to guide our lives in 21st century America. The comparison is interesting both for the dramatic differences between these two worlds, as well as the remarkably similarities between the kinds of lives that people lived then and the ones we are living now.
Leopold's first main claim is that over the course of centuries, there have been significant changes in these values.