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Caretaker Or Citizen: Hans Jonas, Aldo Leopold, And The Development Of Jewish Environmental Ethics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the ?land ethic? of Aldo Leopold and compares it to Hans Jonas?s environmental principle, ?the imperative of responsibility?. The author believes that both of these concepts are complementary environmental principles and together may begin to provide a more solid environmental, scientific, and philosophical basis for Jewish environmental ethics than has been formulated up until now. The chapter explains that with such a foundation, Jewish environmental ethics can begin to have a real impact on Jewish thought and practice. Leopold?s land ethic and Jonas?s ethic of responsibility are two ethical models that limit human power over the natural world and expand the human ethical concern to the non-human world. The apparent tension between the caretaker model and the citizen model can be resolved if we understand that both are attempts to control human power over the natural world but start from different initial principles.

Keywords: Aldo Leopold; Caretaker model; Hans Jonas; human ethics; Jewish Environmental Ethics



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