Justice, reverence, and the natural world
Elliott, Dustin Charles
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Is the articulation of a green Stoicism theoretically viable—that is, can Stoic virtue ethics provide the basis for an adequate environmental ethic? In my three-part analysis of this question, I argue that Stoicism can, indeed, provide such a basis. First, I explicate the peripheral shortcomings of the arguments posed by those holding that Stoic ethics cannot serve as a foundation for green values. Second, in countering the notion held by many scholars that Stoic ethics is firmly rooted in ancient cosmology, I argue that Stoic ethics is better understood as grounded in human nature (as opposed to cosmic nature)—a view that undercuts many of the central criticisms concerning Stoicism’s ability to foster a green ethos. Third, I demonstrate how the Stoic conceptions of justice, reverence, and flourishing provide a satisfactory framework for recognizing and addressing environmental issues on both anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric grounds.