Environmental Action Ethics: From Preserving to Imitating Nature

Joins us for our first online research seminar, exploring environmental action ethics with Dr Henry Dicks.

Dr Henry Dicks is an environmental philosopher, currently teaching environmental ethics and environmental political philosophy at University Jean Moulin Lyon.

His research focuses on the philosophy of biomimicry, which he analyses in its ontological, technological, ethical and epistemological dimensions.

In this seminar, Dr Dicks will provide an overview of his paper ‘Environmental Action Ethics: From Preserving to Imitating Nature’, which is available as a download for pre-reading.

A Q&A forum will follow the presentation.


“There are three possible approaches to environmental ethics.

First, there is the standard approach, centred on different types of environmental objects: humans (anthropocentrism), animals (zoocentrism), living beings (biocentrism), and ecosystems (ecocentrism).

Second, there is the approach of environmental virtue ethics, centred on the subject and more specifically on different types of environmental virtue.

Third, there is a hitherto unrecognized or at least untheorized approach that I propose to call “environmental action ethics”, centred on the different types of environmental action that mediate the relation between subjects and objects.

With a view to characterising this third approach, I present and discuss three existing positions in environmental action ethics – preservationism, conservationism, and restorationism – before going on to propose a fourth position – imitationism – that arises in the context of biomimicry. Working within imitationism, I then propose a specific ethical theory, which I call “biomimetic ethics”, which I claim overcomes various existing problems in mainstream environmental ethics, while also bringing an original perspective to bear on the environmental virtues.”

Attend online

Join the webinar via MS Teams from 11.55 on 27 May.