Albert Schweitzer Environmental Ethics Analysis

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Albert Schweitzer’s brand of environmental ethics stem from Eastern influences and arguably contends in the most inclusive view of biocentrism. Schweitzer’s baseline of moral consideration is achieved at a fundamental will to live and is accepting to the degree that the mere products of evolution are to be considered morally relevant. While Schweitzer may have crafted a non-arbitrary lower limit of designating moral consideration, the scope of the moral borders extends too greatly without designating limits of consideration to produce a meaningful prescriptive ethic. Schweitzer’s ethic while considering the ability to harm those who are not conscious of the harm, does not aptly distinguish between types of harm or the additional harm that …show more content…
Should the victim in the analogy catch the pickpocket in the act of theft, because the pickpocket had simply encroached upon her rights to security, the victim would not be justified in killing the perpetrator. She would rather need a reasonable degree of certainty that her life was in danger, as the perpetrator—despite operating in the moral low ground—is of equal moral standing and does still boast a right to life. Because Schweitzer contends that all entities with the will to live are of equal moral standing, this implies that to deprive another morally considerable being of its life requires the threat of death and not merely the infringement of a sense of security. To strictly follow this obligation removes the ability to engage in basic sanitary needs without the threat of death from the bacteria who are being killed in the act of cleansing. Handwashing, under Schweitzer’s system of ethics, would be morally unconscionable because while the bacteria would reasonably impose threats to the sanctity of health, there is not a reasonable degree of certainty that each episode of handwashing is a situation in which the hand-washer’s right to life is infringed

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