Environmental damage and the puzzle of the self-torturer

Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):95–108 (2006)
I show, building on Warren Quinn's puzzle of the self-torturer, that destructive conduct with respect to the environment can flourish even in the absence of interpersonal conflicts. As Quinn's puzzle makes apparent, in cases where individually negligible effects are involved, an agent, whether it be an individual or a unified collective, can be led down a course of destruction simply as a result of following its informed and perfectly understandable but intransitive preferences. This is relevant with respect to environmental ethics, since environmental damage is often the result of the accumulation of individually negligible effects.
Keywords collective action  common-pool resources  cost distribution  creeping environmental damage  intransitive preferences  interpersonal conflicts of interest  negligible effects  prisoners' dilemma  puzzle of the self-torturer  tragedy of the commons
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DOI 10.1111/j.1088-4963.2006.00054.x
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References found in this work BETA
Andrew Kernohan (1995). Rights Against Polluters. Environmental Ethics 17 (3):245-257.

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Citations of this work BETA
Chrisoula Andreou (2007). Understanding Procrastination. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (2):183–193.

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