Proponents of the holistic (Greek holos: whole, entire) theory are, among others, Klaus-Michael Meyer-Abich, Martin Gorke and Ludwig Siep.

Like Hans Jonas, Meyer-Abich also uses teleological arguments; however, this does not lead him to develop a biocentric (see module "Biocentrism"), but a holistic position. According to this approach, everything in nature exists for its own sake and must therefore be recognised in its own right. The human being must seek to understand the environment as a "connatural world" (Umwelt vs. Mitwelt in German), as it is neither organised around him or oriented towards him, nor can it be opposed to him. In fact, the human being is an integral part of nature. In the same way that he has obligations to other human beings, he has analogous obligations to the connatural world.

Martin Gorke also argues in favour of overcoming the antagonism between human being and environment. Only if all natural beings are considered members of the moral community, the requirements of a universalist ethics can be met.

Ludwig Siep supports his holistic position by virtue ethics arguments. An idea of what is good can only be gained with reference to a world that is estimable, acceptable and desirable. In this context, the great diversity in nature turns out to be an "essential aspect of virtue of something good in a holistic sense". According to Siep, biodiversity has an intrinsic value that deserves to be respected; human beings must therefore act responsibly.

Meyer-Abich, K. M. (1988): Wissenschaft für die Zukunft: holistisches Denken in ökologischer und gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung. München: Beck.

Meyer-Abich, K. M. (1990): Aufstand für die Natur. Von der Umwelt zur Mitwelt. München / Wien: Hanser Verlag.

Siep, L. (2004): Konkrete Ethik. Grundlagen der Natur- und Kulturethik. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.

Gorke, M. (1999): Artensterben. Von der ökologischen Theorie zum Eigenwert der Natur. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.

Gorke, M. (2000): Was spricht für eine holistische Umweltethik? In: Natur und Kultur 1(2), 86–105.

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