Nature as Convention: A Future Moral Relationship With Humans?

  • Massimo Vittorio
Keywords: ethics, environment, nature, utility, evolutionism


The paper focuses on the relationship between nature and eth- ics, particularly by considering nature as a convention, the result of a so- cial agreement, which is based on the criterion of social utility. In order to analyse this relationship, my assumption takes into consideration three pathways: evolutionary ethics, with reference to Paul Rée; error theo- ry, with reference to John Mackie; and the concept of commodification, with reference to Ralph W. Emerson. I try to connect these perspectives in order to re-define the concepts of judgment and objectivity, showing that both can be viewed as standard or criteria of evaluation according to specific context and needs. My final aim is to show that Emerson’s concept of commodification corroborates the interpretation of nature in relation with the concept of social utility.