Nero's Fiddle: On Hope, Despair, and the Ecological Crisis

Ethics and the Environment 15 (1):51 (2010)
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It may appear rational to pursue short term self interest if the ecological crisis is unsolvable: it may be rational to fiddle while Rome burns. This is especially true when others are not making environmentally friendly choices and when we want to allow peole extensive liberty to make their own choices. This paper examines this problem by utilizing the prisoner's dilemma and Hardin's tragedy of the commons. It argues that voluntary solutions to the ecological crisis are not promising, while also recognizing that governmental interventions are equally unhelpful. The problem identified is that it may in fact be rational to fiddle while Rome burns.



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Andrew Fiala
California State University, Fresno

Citations of this work

Climate Change: Against Despair.Catriona McKinnon - 2014 - Ethics and the Environment 19 (1):31.
Hope in Environmental Philosophy.Lisa Kretz - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (5):925-944.
Climate Change: Bridging the Theory-Action Gap.Lisa Kretz - 2012 - Ethics and the Environment 17 (2):9-27.

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