New recording online: Ben Dixon, “Toward a New Understanding of Leopold’s Land Ethic”

The recording of Ben Dixon (Stephen F. Austin States University), “Toward a New Understanding of Leopold’s Land Ethic”, is now available online:


I argue that a proper understanding of Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic” necessitates affirming three largely unrecognized propositions. First, Leopold identifies health as a sufficient condition for moral standing; this has implications not only for ecosystems, but for individual organisms as well. Second, Leopold sets the value of health alongside other privileged values, which makes him a robust moral pluralist. Lastly, in order to negotiate competing values brought about by such pluralism, Leopold embraces a consistency maximization of values. In putting forward these ideas, I compare their reasonableness to those interpretive elements of Leopold’s most well-known articulator and defender, J. Baird Callicott. What emerges from my arguments is a new, more fitting understanding of Leopold’s Land Ethic.