Justificatory Moral Pluralism: A Novel Form of Environmental Pragmatism

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Moral reasoning typically informs environmental decision-making by measuring the possible outcomes of policies or actions in light of a preferred ethical theory. This method is subject to many problems. Environmental pragmatism tries to overcome them, but it suffers also from some pitfalls. This paper pro- poses a new method of environmental pragmatism that avoids the problems of both the traditional method of environmental moral reasoning and of the general versions of environmental pragmatism. We call it ‘justificatory moral pluralism’ – it develops the intuition that normative ethical theories need not be mutually exclusive. This leaves room for important forms of pluralist environmental ethics that do not require a once-and-for-all prior commitment to an ethical theory when deciding about policies or courses of action related to the protection of the environment. Justificatory moral pluralism offers a viable solution to the recurrent conflicts between efficient environmental decisions and the need for moral reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-758
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Values
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Environmental pragmatism
  • Justificatory moral pluralism
  • Moral reasoning
  • Moral pluralism
  • Value pluralism
  • Methodological pluralism


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