David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):85-108 (2010)
In this paper we explore material simplicity, defined as the virtue disposing us to act appropriately within the sphere of our consumer decisions. Simplicity is a conscientious and restrained attitude toward material goods that typically includes (1) decreased consumption and (2) a more conscious consumption; hence (3) greater deliberation regarding our consumer decisions; (4) a more focused life in general; and (5) a greater and more nuanced appreciation for other things besides material goods, and also for (6) material goods themselves. It is to be distinguished from simple-mindedness, a return to nature, or poverty. Simplicity overlaps with traditional virtues such as temperance, frugality, and wisdom, and sustains and enables traditional virtues such as justice and generosity. Simplicity is a virtue because it furthers human flourishing, both individual and social, and sustains nature’s ecological flourishing. For analytic purposes, we consider six areas in which simplicity can make important contributions: (1) basic individual flourishing, (2) basic societal flourishing, (3) individual freedom or autonomy, (4) the acquisition of knowledge, (5) living meaningfully, and (6) preserving and protecting nonhuman beings. The proven failure of materialism to secure subjective happiness or objective flourishing argues for the practice of voluntary simplicity and for the radical reform of modern consumer societies
|Keywords||Simplicity Consumption Temperance Virtue|
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References found in this work BETA
Rosalind Hursthouse (1999/2001). On Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Martha Craven Nussbaum & Amartya Kumar Sen (1999). The Quality of Life. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Ronald L. Sandler (2007). Character and Environment: A Virtue-Oriented Approach to Environmental Ethics. Columbia University Press.
André Comte-Sponville (2001). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Metropolitan Books.
Citations of this work BETA
Jason Kawall (2011). Future Harms and Current Offspring. Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (1):23-26.
Philip Cafaro (2011). Taming Growth and Articulating a Sustainable Future The Way Forward for Environmental Ethics. Ethics and the Environment 16 (1):1-24.
Payam Moula (2015). GM Crops, the Hubris Argument and the Nature of Agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (1):161-177.
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Elliott Sober (1975). Simplicity. Clarendon Press.
Jerome M. Segal (2002). Graceful Simplicity: The Philosophy and Politics of the Alternative American Dream. University of California Press.
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