David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (2):109-124 (2009)
The actions performed by individuals, as consumers and citizens, have aggregate negative consequences for the environment. The question asked in this paper is to what extent it is reasonable to hold individuals and institutions responsible for environmental problems. A distinction is made between backward-looking and forward-looking responsibility. Previously, individuals were not seen as being responsible for environmental problems, but an idea that is now sometimes implicitly or explicitly embraced in the public debate on environmental problems is that individuals are appropriate targets for blame when they perform actions that are harmful to the environment. This idea is criticized in this paper. It is argued that instead of blaming individuals for performing actions that are not environmentally friendly we should ascribe forward-looking responsibility to individuals, a notion that focuses more on capacity and resources than causation and blameworthiness. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that a great share of forward-looking responsibility should also be ascribed to institutional agents, primarily governments and corporations. The urge to ascribe forward-looking responsibility to institutional agents is motivated by the efficiency aim of responsibility distributions. Simply put, if responsibility is ascribed to governments and corporations there is a better chance of creating a society in which the opportunities to act in an environmentally friendly way increase.
|Keywords||Individual responsibility Environmental problems Ethical consumers Forward-looking responsibility Institutional responsibility|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.) (1993). Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press.
Robert E. Goodin (1986). Responsibilities. Philosophical Quarterly 36 (142):50-56.
Eivind Jacobsen & Arne Dulsrud (2007). Will Consumers Save the World? The Framing of Political Consumerism. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (5):469-482.
Dale Jamieson (2007). When Utilitarians Should Be Virtue Theorists. Utilitas 19 (02):160-.
John Ladd (1991). Bhopal: An Essay on Moral Responsibility and Civic Virtue. Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (1):73-91.
Citations of this work BETA
Anne Schwenkenbecher (2012). Is There an Obligation to Reduce One’s Individual Carbon Footprint? Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (2):1-21.
Similar books and articles
Richard H. Guerrette (1986). Environmental Integrity and Corporate Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 5 (5):409 - 415.
Gopalkrishnan R. Iyer (1999). Business, Consumers and Sustainable Living in an Interconnected World: A Multilateral Ecocentric Approach. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 20 (4):273 - 288.
Conceição Soares (2007). The HIV/AIDS Crisis and Corporate Moral Responsibility in the Light of the Levinasian Notions of Proximity and the Third. Business Ethics 16 (3):278–285.
Yongtae Kim & Meir Statman (2012). Do Corporations Invest Enough in Environmental Responsibility? Journal of Business Ethics 105 (1):115-129.
Jacquie L'Etang (1994). Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility: Some Issues Arising. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 13 (2):111 - 123.
Garrath Williams (2008). Responsibility as a Virtue. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4):455 - 470.
Jessica Christie Ludescher (2011). Sustainable Development and the Destruction of the Amazon. Environmental Ethics 33 (2):197-218.
George G. Brenkert (1995). The Environment, The Moralist, The Corporation and Its Culture. Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (4):675-697.
Allen Thompson (2006). Environmentalism, Moral Responsibility, and the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. Ethics, Place and Environment 9 (3):269 – 278.
Mason Cash (2010). Extended Cognition, Personal Responsibility, and Relational Autonomy. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):645-671.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads79 ( #16,335 of 1,098,982 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #57,966 of 1,098,982 )
How can I increase my downloads?