Justice and Nature

Kantian Philosophy, Environmental Policy, and the Law

John Martin Gillroy
Foreword by Robert Paehlke

"Gillroy offers a rich discussion that should make a weighty impact on the public policy community."
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Most decision making in environmental policy today is based on the economic cost-benefit argument. Criticizing the shortcomings of the market paradigm, John Martin Gillroy proposes an alternative way to conceptualize and create environmental policy, one that allows for the protection of moral and ecological values in the face of economic demands.

Drawing on Kantian definitions of who we are as citizens, how we act collectively, and what the proper role of the state is, Gillroy develops a philosophical justification for incorporating non-market values into public decision making. His new paradigm for justice toward nature integrates the intrinsic value of humanity and nature into the law.

To test the feasibility of this new approach, Gillroy applies it to six cases: wilderness preservation, national wildlife refuges, not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) siting dilemmas, comparative risk analysis, the Food and Drug Administration's risk regulation, and the National Environmental Policy Act. He also encourages others to adapt his framework to create alternative policy models from existing philosophies.

This book offers new insights, models, and methods for policymakers and analysts and for scholars in philosophy, political theory, law, and environmental studies.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures




Introduction: Practical Reason, Moral Capacities, and Environmental Choices
The Critical Argument: Moving beyond Market Assumptions
The Constructive Argument: Kantian Ethics and Practical Choice
Justice from Autonomy and Ecosystem Policy Argument
Notes to Introduction

Part I Economic Policy Argument and Environmental Metapolicy

1. The Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy Argument
Practical Reason, Argument, and the Policy Process
Policy Design: The Strategy and TActics of Public Choice
The Economic Design Approach and Comprehensive Policy Argument
The Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy Argument
A Context Model for the Market Paradigm
From Strategy to Tactics
Notes to Chapter 1

2. The Theory of Environment Risk: Preference, Choice, and Individual Welfare
The Economic Viewpoint: From Private Exchange to Public Choice?
the Strategic Nature of the Polluter's Dilemma
Environmental Risk and the Imprisoned Rider
Efficiency, Morality, and a "Thin" Theory of Autonomy
Public Choice, "Thick" Autonomy, and Respect for Instrinsic Value
Notes to Chapter 2

3. The Pracrtice of Environmental Risk: THe Market Context Model and Environmental Law
Efficiency and Environmental Law
Traditional Pollution: Finding the Optimum Level for Efficient Abatement Law and Policy
Notes to Chapter 3

4. Moving beyond the Market Paradigm: Making Space for "Justice from Autonomy"
A Substructure: Uncertainty and Environmental Ethics
A Superstructure: Environmental Risk and Public Administration
Ecosystems in Ethical Context
Toward Ecosystem Policy Design: A Tension of Intrinsic Values
Notes to Chapter 4

Part II A Kantian Paradigm for Ecosystem Policy Argument

Executive Summary

5. Justice from Autonomy: The Individual and Nature
The Three Components of Practical Reason
Our Kantian Duties to Nature
Kant's Environmental Imperative: Harmonize Humanity and Nature!
Notes to Chapter 5

6. Justice form Autonomy: Collective Action
Practical Reason and Strategic Rationality
Moral Agency and Collective Action
Kantian Communitarianism: Juridical Means to Ehtical Ends
Notes to Chapter 6

7. Justice from Autonomy: The Legitimate State
The Moral Basis of the Legitimate State
The Principle of Autonomy and the Attributes of the Active Citizen
Public Trust and the Harmony of Freedom
Notes to Chapter 7

8. Justice from Autonomy: Maxims and Methods
Politics, Autonomy, and Public Choice
Principles and Maxims for Public Choice
Implementing Maxims: Two Distinctions
From Maxims to Methods
The Kantian Context Model and "Ecosystem" Design
Notes to Chapter 8

Part III Ecosystem Argument: Applications and Implications

9. The Theory of Environmental Risk Revisited: "Rules of Thumb" for Administrative Decision Making
The Theory of Environmental Risk: Uncertainty, Ehtics, and Science
The Kantian Administrator and Ecosystem Design
The Predilections and Reorientation of the Public Manager
Davie: From Economic to Ecosystem Policy Argument
Notes to Chapter 9

10. The Practice of Environmental Risk Revisited: Case Studies in Ecosystem Policy Argument
Ecosystem Integrity and the Extraction Decision: The Cases fo Wilderness and Wildlife
Assurance and the Disposal Interface: NIMBY and Comparative Risk
Trust and the Production Decision: NEPA and FDA Regulation
Ecosystem Policy Argument and the Baseline
The Baseline Standard and Political Evaluation
Notes to Chapter 10


Ecosystem Argument in the States: Act 250 and Proposition 65
Federal Policy and State Experiments
Vermont's Act 250
California's Proposition 65
Justice and Federal Government

Selected Bibliography

Names Index

Subject Index


"An ambitious book."—Political Studies Review

"Gillroy contributes to scholarly debates in an unusually wide range of disciplines."—American Politics

"Gillroy offers a rich discussion that should make a weighty impact on the public policy community."—David Braybrooke, Centennial Commission Chair in the Liberal Arts, The University of Texas at Austin

"Presents a powerful challenge to the current marginalization of environmental ethics in the public policy arena . . . Justice and Nature will help move environmental philosophy from the classroom to its rightful place at the forefront of public debate."—Robert V. Percival, Director, Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland School of Law

"Gillroy is masterful in his use of Kant's moral and political philosophy to develop the Justice from Autonomy paradigm. This book is a must for all Kant scholars and for anyone interested in the relevance of philosophy to environmental law and policy."—Robert Paul Churchill, Chair, Department of Philosophy and Director, Peace Studies Program, The George Washington University

"Authors, too numerous to mention, have called for a new, non-market-based, normative framework for analyzing environmental problems. John Martin Gillroy has actually gone beyond this common admonition to provide one. Ethicists, policy analysts, and decision makers should take this Kantian attempt very seriously."—Bryan Norton, Georgia Institute of Technology


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

John Martin Gillroy is John D. MacArthur Professor of Environmental Policy and Law at Bucknell University, where he also is director of the Environmental Studies Program. His previous books include Environmental Risk, Environmental Values and Political Choices: Beyond Efficiency Tradeoffs in Policy Analysis(Westview, 1993) and The Moral Dimensions of Public Policy Choice: Beyond the Market Paradigm(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992).

496 pp., 7 x 10

Jan 2001

496 pp., 7 x 10

ISBN: 978-0-87840-796-5
Jan 2001

496 pp.

Jan 2001

American Governance and Public Policy series
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors

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