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Co-Creator or Creative Predator?

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James Nash’s Contributions to Catholic Social Teaching on Ecological Ethics

image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

While the Catholic Church’s official teaching on the environment presents a hopeful and comprehensive ecological ethic rooted in the goodness of creation and humanity’s privileged role as co-creator, it does not sufficiently account for the violence of predation and humanity’s necessary participation in it. James Nash’s understanding of humans as altruistic, creative predators can further Catholic ecological ethics because it strikes a better balance between humanity’s call to love creation and the moral ambiguity of the evolutionary process. Humans as creative predators suggests three new understandings of what ecological sacrifice could entail: 1) to see the death of every creature, even if a morally justifiable death, as a kind of sacrifice; 2) to recognize that ecological sustainability may demand dramatic and subversive shifts in behavior; and 3) to sacrifice our tendency to view nonhumans instrumentally by advocating a Biotic Bill of Rights.

Affiliations: 1: Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


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