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The Moral Worth of Creatures: Neo-Classical Metaphysics and the Value Theories of Rolston and Callicott


  • Francisco Benzoni


After showing that Rolston's and Callicott's value theories are fundamentally flawed, I demonstrate that a value theory grounded in neoclassical, or process, metaphysics avoids the problems in, and incorporates insights from, these accounts. A fundamental thesis of neoclassical metaphysics is that individual creatures at all levels of reality (from non-sensuous, non-conscious to self-conscious) are subjects of experience. Since individuals are subjects, this value theory meets Callicott's legitimate demand that value requires a valuer. And because such subjectivity does not depend on consciousness, this theory meets Rolston's legitimate demand that intrinsic value not depend upon human valuation.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Benzoni, 2009. "The Moral Worth of Creatures: Neo-Classical Metaphysics and the Value Theories of Rolston and Callicott," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(1), pages 5-32, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev18:ev1801

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    More about this item


    Environmental ethics; moral worth; intrinsic value; metaphysics;

    JEL classification:

    • D46 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Value Theory
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects


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