Proof of Natural Intrinsic Value

Zaijuan ZHOU, Daojin SUN


The famous American environmental ethicist Holmes Rolston III pointed out that the old ethics emphasized only one species’ welfare; the new ethics must pay attention to the welfare of life including millions of species that make up the earth’s evolution. In the past, human beings were the only species that got moral treatment; they only acted in accordance with their own interests, and dealt with other things in their own interests; new ethics increased the respect for all species. Nature has intrinsic value that is the logical starting point to broaden the people’s moral care to nature. So the theory is the core purport of unanthrocentrism of environmental ethics. Nature not only has instrumental value, but also has the intrinsic value of the objective. In this regard, Rolston and Marx’s points of natural value have too many of the same or similarities. In the past, the academic understanding of the relative views of Rolston and Marx is not comprehensive, at least not dialectics. Like all the past materialism, Marx acknowledged that the natural alienation is pre-existence, systematization, development of its own. In a word, the objectivity of natural features is admitted. Rolston tends to be more consistent with Marx’s views. In his viewpoint, nature has not only the tool value, but also has the inherent or congenital value, namely the intrinsic value. Non-human nature has intrinsic value that is also the focus of philosophical debate in recent years. To study the correspondence of Rolston and Marx’s view of natural value, the paper contributes to provide theoretical support for natural intrinsic value, to help the people know the importance of human and nature harmony and improve the people’s enthusiasm of nature conservation, advantageous to actualize ecological civilization and promote harmonical development of mankind and nature.


Natural intrinsic value; Nature; Human

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