Ethical Theory and the Problem of Inconsequentialism: Why Environmental Ethicists Should be Virtue-Oriented Ethicists [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):167-183 (2010)
Many environmental problems are longitudinal collective action problems. They arise from the cumulative unintended effects of a vast amount of seemingly insignificant decisions and actions by individuals who are unknown to each other and distant from each other. Such problems are likely to be effectively addressed only by an enormous number of individuals each making a nearly insignificant contribution to resolving them. However, when a person’s making such a contribution appears to require sacrifice or costs, the problem of inconsequentialism arises: given that a person’s contribution, although needed (albeit not necessary), is nearly inconsequential to addressing the problem and may require some cost from the standpoint of the person’s own life, why should the person make the effort, particularly when it is uncertain (or even unlikely) whether others will do so? In this article I argue that justifications for making the effort to respond to longitudinal collective action environmental problems are, on the whole, particularly well supported by virtue-oriented normative theories, on which character traits are evaluated as virtues and vices consequentially or teleologically and actions are evaluated in terms of virtues and vices. If ethical theories are to be assessed on their theoretical and practical adequacy, and if providing a compelling response to the problem of inconsequentialism is an instance of such adequacy, then this is a reason for preferring virtue-oriented ethical theory over non-virtue-oriented ethical theories, such as Kantian, act utilitarian, and global utilitarian theories
|Keywords||Virtue-oriented ethics Utilitarianism Kantian ethics Global environmental problems|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
James Harold (2011). Is Xunzi's Virtue Ethics Susceptible to the Problem of Alienation? Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (1):71-84.
Mary Ella Savarino (1993). Toward an Ontology of Virtue Ethics. Journal of Philosophical Research 18:243-259.
Edwin M. Hartman (2008). Reconciliation in Business Ethics: Some Advice From Aristotle. Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (2):253-265.
Daniel C. Russell (2008). That “Ought” Does Not Imply “Right”: Why It Matters for Virtue Ethics. Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):299-315.
Ronald Sandler (2003). The External Goods Approach to Environmental Virtue Ethics. Environmental Ethics 25 (3):279-293.
Gideon Calder (2010). R. L. Sandler, Character and Environment: A Virtue-Oriented Approach to Environmental Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):233-234.
Brian Treanor (2010). Environmentalism and Public Virtue. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):9-28.
Ronald Sandler (2006). A Theory of Environmental Virtue. Environmental Ethics 28 (3):247-264.
Susanne E. Foster (2002). Aristotle and the Environment. Environmental Ethics 24 (4):409-428.
Joel Martinez (2011). Is Virtue Ethics Self-Effacing? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):277-288.
Added to index2009-08-10
Total downloads57 ( #22,195 of 1,003,986 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #39,123 of 1,003,986 )
How can I increase my downloads?