Richard Sylvan's early work was so heavily dominated by logic that it is easy to forget that his very first independent work, his unpublished Wellington M.A. thesis of 1958, was on moral scepticism. Sylvan was always interested in ethics, so it was no change of direction when, in 1973, he published an uncharacteristically short paper, "Is there a need for a new, an environmental, ethics?", which quickly became one of the seminal papers in environmental ethics. In the same year he and Val Routley published The Fight for the Forests (reprinted and enlarged through three successive years), not a philosophy book, but an influential critique of Australian forestry practices: his concern for the environment was always practical as well as theoretical. Much of Sylvan's early work on the environment was done in collaboration with Val Routley, e.g., the two very long papers which make up the bulk of Environmental Philosophy (1980), a collection edited by Sylvan, Don Mannison and Michael McRobbie. In the 1980's he began a similarly sustained collaboration with David Bennett, culminating in their book The Greening of Ethics (1994). Much of Sylvan's work on ethics was on applications, especially to the environment, e.g. on energy and population, and an examination of inter- and intra-species predation, provocatively entitled "In Defence of Cannibalism" (1982). But he wrote also on the ethics of nuclear war and pacifism and even a paper, with Louise Sylvan, on "The Ethics of Gambling" (1985). Although he called his position "deep environmental ethics" (and sometimes "deep green theory"), he was critical of deep ecology, as an incoherent amalgam of metaphysical, religious, and psychological elements.

For the listing which follows, the label "Environmental Philosophy" is inaccurate. Included under it are all Sylvan's publications on ethics (whether concerned with the environment or not) and his known publications on the environment (whether philosophical or not) as well as his publications on politics and political theory.

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Submissions from 1994

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Against the Mainstream: Critical Environmental Essayes, Richard Sylvan

Submissions from 1990

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Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy, Universal Purpose, Terrestrial Greenhouse and Biological Evolution, Richard Sylvan

Submissions from 1989

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Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy, Idealism and Coherence: One Rehabilitation Attempt, Richard Sylvan

Submissions from 1986

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Three Essayes upon Deeper Environmental Ethics, Richard Sylvan

Submissions from 1984

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Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy, Windows on Science, Richard Sylvan

Submissions from 1983

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Nihilisms and Nihilist Logics, Richard Routley

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, War and Peace II: On the Alleged Inconsistency, Moral Insensitivity and Fanaticism of Pacifism, Richard Routley

Submissions from 1982

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, In Defence of Canniblism: Types of Admissible and Inadmissible Cannibalism, Richard Routley

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Roles and Limits of Paradigms in Environmental Thought and Action, Richard Routley

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Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Unravelling the Meanings of Life?, Richard Routley and NIcholas Griffin