Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Adele Hills

Abstract

It is argued that the continuing environmental destruction results from an instrumental valuation of the non-human world. Fox's (1995) alternative intrinsic value approach to environmental protection is introduced. Two aspects of Fox's desc1iptive model may represent fundamental motives, or ethical bases, for behaviour. They are sentience -the quality of being capable of experiencing pain, and ecosystemic-integrity -the quality of contributing to the self-regenerating capacity of an ecosystem. The inconsistency between the presumed ethical bases for behaviour, and actual behaviour is noted. It is suggested that delegitimisation- the discounting of some desirable quality in a competitor during conflict, and the scope of justice- the flexible boundary within which moral rules apply, serve to mediate the effect of the presumed intrinsic value ethical bases on human behaviour towards non-humans. Participants were 637 (385 female, 282 male) university student volunteers of mixed cultural background aged 18 to 31. ANOVA revealed significant main effects, and no interactions, for sentience, integrity, or conflict on allocation of a wetland to a fictitious entity (Dodder). Effect sizes were small. ANOVA revealed no significant main effects or interactions for sentience, integrity or conflict, on the scope of justice. ANCOV A indicated that the small covariate effects of scope of justice (Cronbachs alpha = .84) for allocate (r = .155) were not sufficient to establish scope of justice as a mediator between sentience, conflict, or ecosystemic-integrity, and allocation. Delegitimisation of the Dodder's ability to feel pain (an aspect of sentience), and human need occurred. Delegitimisation of the Dodder's intelligence (an aspect of sentience) and ecosystemic integrity was not found. Wetland allocation to the Dodder occurred for reasons of life, endangerment, and protection, and allocation to humans was for reasons of human need and importance. The presumed intrinsically valuable qualities of sentience and ecosystcmic integrity do not seem to be powerful motives for behaviour towards the non-human world and as predictors of protection their practical relevance appears doubtful. Revision of the scope of justice scale, and attention to issues of endangerment versus conflict is recommended

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