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Philosophy on the Internet

To many the Internet may seem like an escape from reality, but campaigners for all sorts of causes are using it as a tool in their struggle to change the real world. Environmental groups have been in the forefront of this. There are also a growing number of web sites for people interested in a more academic fashion in environmental ethics – the study of how we should behave with regard to our environment.

History of Environmental Ethics


Outlines the development of environmental ethics as a branch of philosophy: “The inspiration for environmental ethics was the first Earth Day in 1970 when environmentalists started urging philosophers who were involved with environmental groups to do something about environmental ethics.” Various landmark publications are listed, along with copious tips on where to find out more.

Environmental Ethics


This page is based at the Department of Philosophy at Gothenburg University, Sweden. It includes a brief but interesting essay on the need to analyse concepts such as ‘nature ’, ‘growth ’ and ‘progress ’, and also contains a truly vast collection of links to web sites for both academic environmental ethics and for campaigning groups all over the world. And talking of pressure groups…..

Friends of the Earth


Their web site publicises several of their campaigns, notably the one against the Newbury Bypass roadbuilding scheme, and the one against the trade in South American hardwood. They claim that logging companies illegally felling timber in Indian reserves are committing all manner of crimes including murder against the local population. Their “Mahogany is Murder” advertisements were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, but are reproduced in all their full-colour gory detail on the web site. This is an interesting exploitation of the notoriously anarchic Internet to sidestep censorship.

Animal Rights Resource Site


A well-organised collection of material promoting the idea that animals have rights. Leaflets, some harrowing photos and a ‘Chat Room ’ for people to exchange views. They do give space to the opinions of opponents of animal rights too.

Vegetarian Pages


The web site for all herbivores. Includes recipes, nutritional information, and facts about famous vegetarians. Also contains links to the web pages of various organisations which encourage people to give up eating meat. (There was no link to the UK ’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, despite its sterling work in this direction).

Whale Songs


Rather a poetic web site; from it you can download files with names like ‘Haunting Whale Cry ’ and ‘Whale Whistle ’ – digitised recordings of whale songs. You need a program called Sound Machine to be able to play the recordings on your computer. The unstated sub-text of this page is that creatures who can sing so beautifully shouldn ’t end up in sushi bars.

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