On the Way to the Ethics of the XXI Century

  1. Lemma
  2. На пути к этике XXI века
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Concepts of knowledge and modes of reasoning > Materialism/Idealism - Ecology and the environment - Ethics
  6. 12-07-2018
  7. Вершков, Анатолий Валентинович [Author]. На пути к этике XXI века
  8. Вестник КГПУ им. В.П. Астафьева
  9. Russian Orthodoxy - environmental protection - environment - pollution - ecological consciousness - ethics - materialism - ascetism - Anthropocentrism
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    1. <p>Вершков, Анатолий Валентинович (2013). На пути к этике ХХI века. <em>Вестник Красноярского государственного педагогического университета им. В.П. Астафьева</em>, (2 (24)), 165-169.</p>
    1. The article argues that the solution to the current ecological problem requires new ethics. Some thinkers point out that it calls for a new “ecological consciousness” which, according to the well-known expert in the field of philosophical problems of ecology and nature management E.V. Girusov, should not be limited to already existing theoretical constructions and concepts. It should instead try to embrace the heterogeneous phenomena using a single conceptual apparatus. This implies developing new philosophical approaches to the problems of scientific knowledge. 

      The concept of ecological ethics (or "the ethics of the earth"), formulated by Oldo Leopold, represents one of the attempts to create an “ecological consciousness” by turning the human “from a conqueror of the community into its ordinary and equal member.” This idea was developed by V.I. Boreyko, Head of the Kiev Ecological and Cultural Centre, who defines three major tasks of ecological ethics: rejection of the consumer attitude towards nature; development of an ecological worldview not based on anthropocentrism; and development of theoretical bases of nature protection.

      The author of the article points out several inconsistencies of the ecological ethics approach as well as its inapplicability in real life. For example, many partisans of ecological ethics (including Boreyko) propose very harsh measures: they reject the practice of eco-tourism; advocate the prohibition of amateur hunting and fishing; demand the abandonment of consumption of meat and the use of fur and leather. The author quotes the opinion of the Orthodox priest Hegumen Ioann (Ekonomtsev) who called the ecological ethics “a good, but hopeless endeavour,” similar to the philosophy of the Stoics who failed to get the broad masses of population interested in their teaching.

      In the author’s view, Orthodox ethics is a more viable alternative. Orthodox ethics is argued to be in harmony with the ideas of the co-evolution of man and the biosphere. It is characterised by a special attitude to nature – God's creation given to humanity to manage and preserve. Orthodox ethics see kind-heartedness as a norm (and evil as a deviation); asceticism; collectivism; reverence for poverty (as opposed to the morally questionable wealth) and just distribution of wealth; charity and generosity (as apposed to egoistic possession of goods); and sacred attitude to labour. These are, according to the author, simple and understandable. They come “from the depths of the soul of the Russian people” and, in his opinion, can be used by society as the basis of a new ethics for the XXI century, including ecological and environmental protection.