Volume 5, 2016

Ethics and Environment / Éthique et environment

Peter Kemp
Pages 13-30

Utopie et dystopie
Eco-ethica dans la crise socio-environnementale

This paper tries to show that, in our criticism of society today, it is not enough to presuppose an idea of utopia but also to integrate an idea of dystopia into our reflections. The first two parts consider two documents that analyze the socio- environmental crisis of our world today: (1) the fifth assessment report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014, and (2) the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on Care of Our Common Home, which argues that there are not two different crises but one single socio-environmental crisis that threatens all life on our planet, and calls for a new ethics. The next two parts confront two philosophers, Ernst Bloch and Hans Jonas. Bloch has provided a strong defense of the utopian thinking but in a Marxist context, whereas Jonas has rejected all utopian thinking and replaced it with the idea of responsibility for the present world. Both thinkers need a more fundamental idea of hope.