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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
News and Notes
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Bernward Gesang, Climate Change—Do I Make a Difference?
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When an individual’s action is only one among a large number of similar actions and does not seem to make any difference to the bad collective outcome, can it nonetheless be condemned by act utilitarianism? This question has currently regained interest with papers, e.g., by Shelly Kagan, Julia Nefsky, and Felix Pinkert. Christopher Morgan-Knapp and Charles Goodman answer the question in the affirmative for miniscule emissions in the context of climate change. They use expected utility analysis as Kagan did in consumer ethics. The assumptions about the impact of emissions vary according to some underlying empirical scenarios, all of which are possible. Individual actions might be relevant in the sense of contributing to a mere linear accumulation of emissions; or they might be relevant by leading to an accumulation in the form of crossing thresholds, be it one or several, Finally, such actions might not be relevant at all. To give an answer that solves the problem and that is based solely on expected utility analysis is impossible. Therefore, the view of Morgan-Knapp and Goodman must be rejected.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Ryan Darr, Climate Change and Common-Sense Moral Responsibility
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The harms that will result from climate change are so spatiotemporally distant from and complexly related to the acts that cause them that the common-sense concept of moral responsibility can seem inadequate. For this reason, Dale Jamieson has raised the possibility that climate change might represent not simply a moral failure but a failure of morality itself. The result could be a climate disaster for which no one is morally responsible. Debates about the adequacy of common-sense morality, however, often rely on an overly simplistic picture of it. A more adequate picture of common-sense morality is needed, which allows for both a more nuanced account of its role in the problem of climate change and a more satisfying account of individual moral responsibility for contributions to climate change.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Teea Kortetmäki, Applying the Capabilities Approach to Ecosystems: Resilience as Ecosystem Capability
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The capabilities approach has attracted broad interest in environmental ethics. One very interesting application is the environmental or extended capabilities approach which promotes the notion of environmental capabilities that contribute to the flourishingof nonhuman beings and ecological systems. The approach, however, lacks any account of the capabilities of ecological systems. The environmental capabilities approach can be applied at the ecosystem level with the flourishing of an ecosystem understood in terms of capabilities. Ecosystem flourishing presumes the ability of a given system to maintain its characteristic functions, diversity, and quality, and to do so even in the face of various disturbances. Resilience can be understood as a central capability of ecosystems to maintain their characteristic functioning in disruptive circumstances, which is particularly important with regard to human-induced environmental changes. This approach evokes duties of ecological justice regarding ecosystems. These duties in terms of the environmental capabilities approach can promote more holistic decision making.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Tina Tin, From Anthropocentric to the Abiotic: Environmental Ethics and Values in the Antarctic Wilderness
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Over the past six decades, Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties have developed legal agreements to protect various aspects of the Antarctic environment. Strong anthropocentrism (e.g., unsustainable harvesting of marine living resources) is generally rejected, and stewardship (e.g., minimizing risks of contamination) is accepted while protection of nonanthropocentric values (e.g., wilderness and intrinsic values) is evoked when it furthers human interests. As one of the world’s remaining large wildernesses, Antarctica is under threat from the continuous expansion of the human footprint and is in need of attention from the wider society, including the environmental ethics community. The interdependence of all life on this planet means that problems in Antarctica are not as far away and trivial as it may seem. Furthermore, Antarctica’s extreme position at the edge of civilization challenges humans as moral agents to think about where our moral duties and rights begin and end on this planet, and elsewhere in the universe. Considerations of wilderness and intrinsic values, equity, and abiotic ethics are some of the issues that environmental ethics can contribute toward the protection of the Antarctic wilderness.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Samantha Vice, The Ethics of Animal Beauty
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Taking hunting as an example, an account of animal beauty as animation can be developed. Our delight in many kinds of animals is crucially a matter of an aesthetic property which can be called “the animate” or “animation.” A proper response to animate animal beauty is a virtuous character trait that hunters lack. The beauty of animals calls for particular responses from observers: it brings along certain duties and requires the cultivation of certain traits of character—ones that are incompatible with hunting animals. An argument against hunting animals can move from aesthetic value to ethical value relying on the aesthetic notion of disinterestedness.
book reviews
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Daniel Edward Callies, The Ethics of Climate Governance
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Toby Svoboda, Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
William Throop, The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in an Age of Climate Change
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
J. A. A. Swart, Restoring Layered Landscapes: History, Ecology, and Culture
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