Metaphysical Foundations of Environmental Ethics in an African Culture

  • Felix Ayemere Airoboman Department of Philosophy University of Benin
Keywords: Complementary Environmentalism, Eco-bio-communitarianism, Instrumental rationality, Relational Environmentalism, Subject-object dichotomy


This study argues that environmental problems cannot be resolved unless we know
the foundations for the various failed attempts by scholars, namely, the subjectobject
dichotomy upon which all hitherto existing theories are based. It argues that
such ontology portrays a consequentialist conception of the environment, which
encourages instrumentalization of the object (nature) by the subject (humans), and
the resultant abusive use of nature. The study analyses some theories of
environmental ethics, and extends this consideration to the debate concerning
moral obligation to future generations. The study then x-rays some attempts by
some African philosophers to ground environmental ethics on metaphysics, and
draws attention to an alternative theory in indigenous Esan thought which is not
premised on subject-object dichotomy but on the union of beings.


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