Ecological Ethics in the Debate about Norwegian Whaling - An Ethical Discussion of our Relationship with More-Than-Human Nature and How this Discussion is Applied in the Public Debate concerning Norwegian Whaling
Ethics - how we ought to live and act in relation to other human beings - is an integrated part of our everyday lives, and it is accepted as an important part of public debates. But other human beings are not the only ones humans live in relationship with. We also live in relation to other natural entities, such as non-human animals, plants and ecosystems. However, ecological ethics - concerning how we ought to live and act in relation to more-than-human nature - is often not accepted as a part of the public debate, even though the debate concerns non-humans. This thesis will address the debate concerning Norwegian whaling in an attempt to critically investigate the role of ecological ethics in a debate involving non-humans, and look at why ecological ethics seldom is consciously used as a platform for the discussion, even though the issue discussed involves more-than-human nature. After a general introduction to ethics, part one of the thesis will present an overview of ecological ethics by presenting some of the main views and discussions in this field, in addition to discussing the necessity of ecological ethics. Part two includes four chapters. The first chapter is a brief history of Norwegian whaling, the second is about minke whales (which is the species of whale that is commercially hunted in Norway) and the third presents Vågehvalen - valgets kval , a book published with support from the Norwegian government in 1993, and three of the arguments it presents for continuing whaling. It also discusses why these arguments are relevant to use when discussing whaling today. The fourth, and main, chapter in part two uses ecological ethics to discuss these three central arguments presented in Vågehvalen - valgets kval that support continuing whaling. It will also be discussed why, according to the book, those who argue in the light of ecological ethics have a legitimisation problem , and why they often are not taken seriously in the debate. In the end some concluding thoughts will presented.