Implications of Some Selected Ethical Theories for Environmental Sustainability and Development in Nigeria
Human actions and conduct have both positive and negative effects on humankind and its environment. This is why ethicists have propounded different theories that are supposed to guide peoples’ conduct in order to distinguish the right from the wrong. Environmental ethics as an aspect of environmental philosophy attempts a justification of the rightness and wrongness of human activities as they affect other non-human members of the society or environment. Despite the efforts of both ethicists and environmentalist, humans have continued to conduct themselves in a manner, most unhealthy to the environmental resources. This is the problematic that informed this research on “Ethics, Environment and Philosophy: Towards Sustainable Development in Africa”. The main objective is to apply selected ethical theories to the philosophical study of environment in order to ascertain their implications for sustainable development in Africa. To achieve this goal, philosophical methods of critical analysis, conceptual clarification and deduction were employed in the examination and exposition of the nature and tenets of the following selected ethical theories: Platonism, Hedonism, Subjectivism, Teleologism and Deontologism. It was discovered upon application that, these theories present both positive and negative implication for environment, philosophy and development. Hence, humans must be positively minded whenever they undertake any action be it from the perspective of Platonists, Hedonists, Subjectivists, Teleologists or Deontologists. If there must be development and sustainability in the environment, then the positive aspects of each of these theories must be harnessed to yield what this paper describes as environmental eclecticism.
Keywords: Ethical Theories, Environment, Philosophy, Sustainable Development, Environmental Eclecticism.