October 11, 2010
This essay considers carefully Derek D. Turner’s critique of certain arguments for eco-sabotage that are rooted in the philosophical views of deep ecology supporters. Concentrating on the texts of Arne Naess, it is explained that there are two relatively distinct non-consequentialist justifications of ecotage that can be derived from his writings, and that these are connected to two relatively distinct notions of “identification” that can be found therein. After reviewing the first of these justifications, and Turner’s commentary on it, the second is detailed, and argued to be less problematic than Turner’s analysis might be taken to suggest. This leads to the conclusion that, while more questions would need to be answered in order to claim that a particular act of ecotage is morally justified, Turner’s critique does not suffice to establish that deep ecological saboteurs are definitively in the wrong.