The value of every human life is a long-term and commonly discussed issue. However, the existence of animals, plants, and non-human objects does not always receive the same support. Today, anthropocentrism is being challenged by environmental ethics, the discipline that discusses the relationship between people and the environment (Brennan & Yeuk-Sze, 2020). This discipline allows the argument that objects, such as buildings, can have a good of their own and have interests that should be respected.
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The value of buildings for human beings is undeniable as people use them as shelters, workplaces, and leisure spots. Some buildings also have historical and aesthetic significance that should be considered when discussing their value independent of their usefulness for people (Brennan & Yeuk-Sze, 2020). The historical and aesthetic importance of buildings can be addressed from the consequentialist ethical theory’s point of view. The theory states that value is determined by whether the consequence of an action is positive or negative (Brennan & Yeuk-Sze, 2020). In the utilitarian approach, both the historical and aesthetic significance of a structure have positive outcomes (Brennan & Yeuk-Sze, 2020). A landmark building can inform people about the past, whereas an aesthetically appealing building brings pleasure to the onlookers. Therefore, such structures have instrumental value as any significance can be used by human beings. In the deontological point of view, consequences are unimportant, and the moral duty of respectful treatment takes precedence (Brennan & Yeuk-Sze, 2020). Thus, if a building is historically significant or aesthetically pleasing, it should be protected as it has a value beyond simple usefulness for human beings. Overall, it can be argued that some buildings have a good of their own, and their interests should be respected. However, not all ethical theories support this point of view.
Brennan, A., & Yeuk-Sze, L. (2020). Environmental ethics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web.