David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The Monist 94 (3):349-368 (2011)
Several philosophers claim that the greenhouse gas emissions from actions like a Sunday drive are so miniscule that they will make no difference whatsoever with regard to anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) and its expected harms. This paper argues that this claim of individual causal inefficacy is false. First, if AGCC is not reducible at least in part to ordinary actions, then the cause would have to be a metaphysically odd emergent entity. Second, a plausible (dis-)utility calculation reveals that such actions have a not-insignificant amount of expected harm. One upshot is that the near-exclusive focus in the literature on AGCC as a collective action problem is too restricted. The paper also provides several moral psychological explanations of why it is so difficult to comprehend individual responsibility with regard to global phenomena, including a reappraisal of Thomas Nagel’s view of the absurd.
|Keywords||Climate change Consequentialism Deontology Sinnott-Armstrong The Absurd|
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Citations of this work BETA
David Zoller (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility for Distant Collective Harms. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-16.
Christian Baatz (2014). Climate Change and Individual Duties to Reduce GHG Emissions. Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (1):1-19.
Christopher Morgan-Knapp & Charles Goodman (2015). Consequentialism, Climate Harm and Individual Obligations. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):177-190.
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