Philosophy and Technology 30 (4):521-540 (2017)

Abstract
Energy consumption is central to both a number of pressing environmental issues and to people’s attempts to improve their well-being. Although typically understood as essential for people to thrive, this paper sketches a theoretical foundation for the possibility that the form and amount of energy consumption in modern society may inhibit rather than enable human flourishing. It achieves this goal by connecting and critically assessing the writings of Ivan Illich and Albert Borgmann, which offer a number of concepts that enable a qualitative discussion on energy practices. For different reasons, both authors are highly critical of the societal tendency to command ever-increasing amounts of energy. Illich focuses on negative effects of high energy consumption at the societal level, whereas in my particular re-reading of Borgmann, one finds reasons why high energy consumption fails to realize intended positive effects. It is argued that therefore, energy transition should involve a re-appreciation of the function of energy consumption: to support, rather than to be central to life.
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DOI 10.1007/s13347-017-0262-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Virtue of Simplicity.Joshua Colt Gambrel & Philip Cafaro - 2009 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):85-108.
Energy Constraints.Carl Mitcham & Jessica Smith Rolston - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (2):313-319.

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