Matthew Rendall Nottingham University

  • Faculty, Nottingham University

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About me
My current research is on intergenerational justice, and distributive justice more generally. Last year I published articles on the non-identity problem in The Journal of Political Philosophy, and another on climate change, discounting the future and intergenerational equity in Political Studies. Since then, I've completed a paper on the priority view which I presented at the 2012 conference of the British Society for Ethical Theory, and which will be published in a special issue of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. I've also drafted papers on Parfit's mere addition paradox and a paper about the problem of aggregation, which seeks to reconcile utilitarianism and prioritarianism, on the one hand, with the sufficiency view, on the other. At present, I'm working on a pair of papers dealing with climate change and moral mathematics. Soon I plan to start work on a book about intergenerational justice and catastrophic risk.
My works
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  1. Matthew Rendall (forthcoming). Carbon Leakage and the Argument From No Difference. Environmental Values.
    Critics of carbon mitigation often appeal to what Jonathan Glover has called ‘the argument from no difference’: that is, ‘If I don’t do it, someone else will’. Yet even if this justifies continued high emissions by the industrialised countries, it cannot excuse business as usual. The North’s emissions might not harm the victims of climate change in the sense of making them worse off than they would otherwise be. Nevertheless, it receives benefits produced at the latter’s expense, with the result (...)
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  2. Matthew Rendall (2013). Priority and Desert. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):939-951.
    Michael Otsuka, Alex Voorhoeve and Marc Fleurbaey have challenged the priority view in favour of a theory based on competing claims. The present paper shows how their argument can be used to recast the priority view. All desert claims in distributive justice are comparative. The stronger a party’s claims to a given benefit, the greater is the value of her receiving it. Ceteris paribus, the worse-off have stronger claims on welfare, and benefits to them matter more. This can account for (...)
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  3. Matthew Rendall (2011). Climate Change and the Threat of Disaster: The Moral Case for Taking Out Insurance at Our Grandchildren's Expense. Political Studies 59 (4):884-99.
    Is drastic action against global warming essential to avoid impoverishing our descendants? Or does it mean robbing the poor to give to the rich? We do not yet know. Yet most of us can agree on the importance of minimising expected deprivation. Because of the vast number of future generations, if there is any significant risk of catastrophe, this implies drastic and expensive carbon abatement unless we discount the future. I argue that we should not discount. Instead, the rich countries (...)
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  4. Matthew Rendall (2011). Non-Identity, Sufficiency and Exploitation. Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (2):229-247.
    This paper argues that we hold two key duties to future people: to leave them enough in an absolute sense, and to leave them their fair share. Even if we benefit people by bringing them into existence, we can wrongly exploit our position to take more than our share of benefits. As in paradigm cases of exploitation, just because future people might agree to the ‘bargain’, this does not mean that they receive enough.
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