The affirmative's discourse of space exploration is steeped in anthropocentric utilitarian logic, superseding ethical considerations of the extraterrestrial environment and promoting human-centered values Daly and Frodeman--08
[Erin Moore Daly is a graduate student in the School of Life Sciences and the Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University and Robert Frodeman is chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Texas. He specializes in environmental philosophy and philosophy and science policy, “Separated at Birth, Signs of Rapprochement Environmental Ethics and Space Exploration” Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2008, Project Muse]
To date, the discussion of natural places has turned on questions concerning intrinsic and instrumental values. Intrinsic values theorists claim that things have value for their own sake, in contrast to theories of instrumental value where things are good because they can be used to obtain something else of value (economic or otherwise). This debates tends tend to get caught up in attempts at extending the sphere of intrinsically valuable entities. Ethical extensionism depends on human definitions of moral considerability, which typically stem from some degree of identification with things outside us. This anthropocentric and geocentric environmental perspective shows cracks when we try to extend it to the cosmic environment. The few national or international policies currently in place that mention the environment of outer space (e.g. NASA's planetary protection policy, United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) consider the preservation of planetary bodies for science, human exploration, and possible future habitation, but there is not yet any policy that considers whether these anthropocentric priorities should supersede the preservation of possible indigenous extraterrestrial life, or the environmental or geological integrity of the extraterrestrial environment.
Anthropocentrism causes extinction—it divorces our relationship with the natural world and makes ecocide on a cosmic scale inevitable Gottlieb--94
[Roger S. Gottlieb, Professor of Humanities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brandeis University, 1994 (“Ethics and Trauma: Levinas, Feminism, and Deep Ecology,” Crosscurrents: A Journal of Religion and Intellectual Life, Summer, Available Online at http://www.crosscurrents.org/feministecology.htm]
Here I will at least begin in agreement with Levinas. As he rejects an ethics proceeding on the basis of self-interest, so I believe the anthropocentric perspectives of conservation or liberal environmentalism cannot take us far enough. Our relations with nonhuman nature are poisoned and not just because we have set up feedback loops that already lead to mass starvations, skyrocketing environmental disease rates, and devastation of natural resources. The problem with ecocide is not just that it hurts human beings. Our uncaring violence also violates the very ground of our being, our natural body, our home. Such violence is done not simply to the other – as if the rainforest, the river, the atmosphere, the species made extinct are totally different from ourselves. Rather, we have crucified ourselves-in-relation-to-the-other, fracturing a mode of being in which self and other can no more be conceived as fully in isolation from each other than can a mother and a nursing child. We are that child, and nonhuman nature is that mother. If this image seems too maudlin, let us remember that other lactating women can feed an infant, but we have only one earth mother. What moral stance will be shaped by our personal sense that we are poisoning ourselves, our environment, and so many kindred spirits of the air, water, and forests? To begin, we may see this tragic situation as setting the limits to Levinas's perspective. The other which is nonhuman nature is not simply known by a "trace," nor is it something of which all knowledge is necessarily instrumental. This other is inside us as well as outside us. We prove it with every breath we take, every bit of food we eat, every glass of water we drink. We do not have to find shadowy traces on or in the faces of trees or lakes, topsoil or air: we are made from them. Levinas denies this sense of connection with nature. Our "natural" side represents for him a threat of simple consumption or use of the other, a spontaneous response which must be obliterated by the power of ethics in general (and, for him in particular, Jewish religious law(23) ). A "natural" response lacks discipline; without the capacity to heed the call of the other, unable to sublate the self's egoism. Worship of nature would ultimately result in an "everything-is-permitted" mentality, a close relative of Nazism itself. For Levinas, to think of people as "natural" beings is to assimilate them to a totality, a category or species which makes no room for the kind of individuality required by ethics.(24) He refers to the "elemental" or the "there is" as unmanaged, unaltered, "natural" conditions or forces that are essentially alien to the categories and conditions of moral life.(25) One can only lament that Levinas has read nature -- as to some extent (despite his intentions) he has read selfhood -- through the lens of masculine culture. It is precisely our sense of belonging to nature as system, as interaction, as interdependence, which can provide the basis for an ethics appropriate to the trauma of ecocide. As cultural feminism sought to expand our sense of personal identity to a sense of inter-identification with the human other, so this ecological ethics would expand our personal and species sense of identity into an inter-identification with the natural world. Such a realization can lead us to an ethics appropriate to our time, a dimension of which has come to be known as "deep ecology."(26) For this ethics, we do not begin from the uniqueness of our human selfhood, existing against a taken-for-granted background of earth and sky. Nor is our body somehow irrelevant to ethical relations, with knowledge of it reduced always to tactics of domination. Our knowledge does not assimilate the other to the same, but reveals and furthers the continuing dance of interdependence. And our ethical motivation is neither rationalist system nor individualistic self-interest, but a sense of connection to all of life. The deep ecology sense of self-realization goes beyond the modern Western sense of "self" as an isolated ego striving for hedonistic gratification. . . . . Self, in this sense, is experienced as integrated with the whole of nature.(27) Having gained distance and sophistication of perception [from the development of science and political freedoms] we can turn and recognize who we have been all along. . . . we are our world knowing itself. We can relinquish our separateness. We can come home again -- and participate in our world in a richer, more responsible and poignantly beautiful way.(28) Ecological ways of knowing nature are necessarily participatory. [This] knowledge is ecological and plural, reflecting both the diversity of natural ecosystems and the diversity in cultures that nature-based living gives rise to. The recovery of the feminine principle is based on inclusiveness. It is a recovery in nature, woman and man of creative forms of being and perceiving. In nature it implies seeing nature as a live organism. In woman it implies seeing women as productive and active. Finally, in men the recovery of the feminine principle implies a relocation of action and activity to create life-enhancing, not life-reducing and life-threatening societies.(29) In this context, the knowing ego is not set against a world it seeks to control, but one of which it is a part. To continue the feminist perspective, the mother knows or seeks to know the child's needs. Does it make sense to think of her answering the call of the child in abstraction from such knowledge? Is such knowledge necessarily domination? Or is it essential to a project of care, respect and love, precisely because the knower has an intimate, emotional connection with the known?(30) Our ecological vision locates us in such close relation with our natural home that knowledge of it is knowledge of ourselves. And this is not, contrary to Levinas's fear, reducing the other to the same, but a celebration of a larger, more inclusive, and still complex and articulated self.(31) The noble and terrible burden of Levinas's individuated responsibility for sheer existence gives way to a different dream, a different prayer: Being rock, being gas, being mist, being Mind, Being the mesons traveling among the galaxies with the speed of light, You have come here, my beloved one. . . . You have manifested yourself as trees, as grass, as butterflies, as single-celled beings, and as chrysanthemums; but the eyes with which you looked at me this morning tell me you have never died.(32) In this prayer, we are, quite simply, all in it together. And, although this new ecological Holocaust -- this creation of planet Auschwitz – is under way, it is not yet final. We have time to step back from the brink, to repair our world. But only if we see that world not as an other across an irreducible gap of loneliness and unchosen obligation, but as a part of ourselves as we are part of it, to be redeemed not out of duty, but out of love; neither for our selves nor for the other, but for us all.
Alternative: Vote negative to reject the affirmative's anthropocentric advocacy and affirm a non-utilitarian framework that upholds the value of all nature.
The alternative is to reject the affirmative and embrace a non-anthropocentric ethical framework; this is a prerequisite to policymaking Katz and Oechsli--93
[Eric Katz, Vice President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, and Lauren Oechsli, Biology at Columbia, “Moving beyond Anthropocentrism: Environmental Ethics, Development, and the Amazon,” Environmental Ethics, vol 15 no 1, 1993]
Can an environmentalist defend a policy of preservation in the Amazon rain forest without violating a basic sense of justice? We believe that the mistake is not the policy of preservation itself, but the anthropocentric instrumental framework in which it is justified. Environmental policy decisions should not merely concern the trade-off and comparison of various human benefits. If environmentalists claim that the Third World must preserve its environment because of the overall benefits for humanity, then decision makers in the Third World can demand justice in the determination of preservation policy: preservationist policies unfairly damage the human interests of the local populations. If preservationist policies are to be justified without a loss of equity, there are only two possible alternatives: either we in the industrialized world must pay for the benefits we will gain from preservation or we must reject the anthropocentric and instrumental framework for policy decisions. The first alternative is an empirical political issue, and one about which we are not overly optimistic. The second alternative represents a shift in philosophical world view. We are not providing a direct argument for a nonanthropocentric value system as the basis of environmental policy. Rather, our strategy is indirect. Let us assume that a theory of normative ethics which includes nonhuman natural value has been justified. In such a situation, the human community, in addition to its traditional human-centered obligations, would also have moral obligations to nature or to the natural environment in itself. One of these obligations would involve the urgent necessity for environmental preservation. We would be obligated, for example, to the Amazon rain forest directly. We would preserve the rain forest, not for the human benefits resulting from this preservation, but because we have an obligation of preservation to nature and its ecosystems. Our duties would be directed to nature and its inhabitants and environments, not merely to humans and human institutions. From this perspective, questions of the trade-off and comparison of human benefits, and questions of justice for specific human populations, do not dominate the discussion. This change of emphasis can be illustrated by an exclusively human example. Consider two businessmen, Smith and Jones, who are arguing over the proper distribution of the benefits and costs resulting from a prior business agreement between them. If we just focus on Smith and Jones and the issues concerning them, we will want to look at the contract, the relevant legal precedents, and the actual results of the deal, before rendering a decision. But suppose we learn that the agreement involved the planned murder of a third party, Green, and the resulting distribution of his property. At that point the issues between Smith and Jones cease to be relevant; we no longer consider who has claims to Green’s wallet, overcoat, or BMW to be important. The competing claims become insignificant in light of the obligations owed to Green. This case is analogous to our view of the moral obligations owed to the rain forest. As soon as we realize that the rain forest itself is relevant to the conflict of competing goods, we see that there is not a simple dilemma between Third World development, on the one hand, and preservation of rain forests, on the other; there is now, in addition, the moral obligation to nature and its ecosystems. When the nonanthropocentric framework is introduced, it creates a more complex situation for deliberation and resolution. It complicates the already detailed discussions of human trade-offs, high-tech transfers, aid programs, debtfor-nature swaps, sustainable development, etc., with a consideration of the moral obligations to nonhuman nature. This complication may appear counterproductive, but as in the case of Smith, Jones, and Green, it actually serves to simplify the decision. Just as a concern for Green made the contract dispute between Smith and Jones irrelevant, the obligation to the rain forest makes many of the issues about trade-offs of human goods irrelevant. 12 It is, of course, unfortunate that this direct obligation to the rain forest can only be met with a cost in human satisfaction—some human interests will not be fulfilled. Nevertheless, the same can be said of all ethical decisions, or so Kant teaches us: we are only assuredly moral when we act against our inclinations. To summarize, the historical forces of economic imperialism have created a harsh dilemma for environmentalists who consider nature preservation in the Third World to be necessary. Nevertheless, environmentalists can escape the dilemma, as exemplified in the debate over the development of the Amazon rain forest, if they reject the axiological and normative framework of anthropocentric instrumental rationality. A set of obligations directed to nature in its own right makes many questions of human benefits and satisfactions irrelevant. The Amazon rain forest ought to be preserved regardless of the benefits or costs to human beings. Once we move beyond the confines of human-based instrumental goods, the environmentalist position is thereby justified, and no policy dilemma is created. This conclusion serves as an indirect justification of a nonanthropocentric system of normative ethics, avoiding problems in environmental policy that a human-based ethic cannot. 1 Policy makers and philosophers in the Third World may not be pleased with our conclusions here. Indeed, Ramachandra Guha has recently criticized the focus on biocentrism (i.e., nonanthropocentrism) and wilderness preservation that per-vades Western environmentalism. These Western concerns are at best, irrelevant to, and at worst, destructive of Third World societies. According to Guha, any justifiable environmental movement must include solutions to problems of equity, “economic and political redistribution.” 14 We agree. Thus, as a final note, let us return from the abstract atmospheres of axiological theory and normative frameworks to the harsh realities of life in the non-industrialized world. If our argument is sound, then any destructive development of the natural environment in the Third World is a moral wrong, and a policy of environmental preservation is a moral requirement. Recognition of this moral obligation to preserve the natural environment should be the starting point for any serious discussion of developmental policy.