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early work was so heavily dominated by logic that it is easy to forget that his very first independent work, his unpublished Wellington M.A. thesis of 1958, was on moral scepticism.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.
Submissions from 1994
Submissions from 1990
Submissions from 1989
Submissions from 1986
Submissions from 1984
Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy, Windows on Science, Richard Sylvan
Submissions from 1983
Submissions from 1982
Discussion papers in environmental philosophy, Unravelling the Meanings of Life?, Richard Routley and NIcholas Griffin