Reflection on personal choices and climate change can lead to the thought that nothing an individual does can possibly make a difference to the planet’s future. So why bother going green? This is a version of the problem of causal inefficacy, and it is a particular problem for those with consequentialist leanings. Voters and vegetarians are consulted for help, and a suggestive thought about consistency is pursued. Consequentialist arguments for governmental action are shored up with reflection on consistency, and, hopefully, (...) the result is a solution to the problem: a nearly-consequentialist argument for individual action on climate change. (shrink)
“Philosophy is constitutive of good citizenship. It becomes part of what you are when you are a good citizen – a thoughtful person. Philosophy has manyroles. It can be just fun, a game that you play. It can be a way you try to approach your own death or illness, or that of a family member. I’m just focusing on the place where I think I can win over people, and say ‘Look here, you do care about democracy don’t you? (...) Then you’d better see that philosophy has a place.’”. (shrink)
If it’s correct to think that the West does wrong by doing nothing despite having the room to reduce emissions and the capacity to do so, then it’s correct to think that we’re doing wrong too, in our everyday lives. Your emissions might be as much as 20 times more than others in the world; you might be doing as much as 20 times the damage to the planet compared to other people. The bulbs are not enough.
State governments have done little or nothing about climate change, and individuals have done little or nothing about their own carbon footprints. Perhaps both parties would do something if the moral demand for action were clear. This paper presents two arguments for the necessity of meaningful state action on climate change. The arguments depend on certain clear facts about emissions as well as two uncontroversial moral principles — one owed to Peter Singer and the other connecting capacities with the demand (...) for action. Arguments are presented for individual action based on a similar set of facts and the consistent application of principles which apply in state cases. The arguments put consistency, not consequences, at the heart of the call for individual action. This is a strategy which might help individuals recognize their obligations to the environment. (shrink)
Is technology neutral, a neutral means to whatever ends we have in mind, or is it, instead, somehow imbued with moral and political value, a kind of autonomous force which brings about its own ends? How should we think about the moral dimension of mundane technology, in particular, what is the right way to use it?
Exactly what is McGinn (1991) saying when he claims that we cannot solve the mind-body problem? Just what is cognitively closed to us? The text suggests at least four possibilities. I work through each them in some detail, and I come to two principal conclusions. First, by McGinn's own understanding of the mind-body problem, he needs to show that we are cognitively closed to how brains generate consciousness, but he argues for something else, that we are cognitively closed to the (...) brain property in virtue of which the brain is the basis of consciousness. Second, it turns out that McGinn is not entitled to any of the four closure possibilities. (shrink)