Hindering Harm and Preserving Purity: How Can Moral Psychology Save the Planet?

Philosophy Compass 10 (2):134-144 (2015)

Joshua Rottman
Boston University
The issues of climate change and environmental degradation elicit diverse responses. This paper explores how an understanding of human moral psychology might be used to motivate conservation efforts. Moral concerns for the environment can relate to issues of harm or impurity . Aversions to harm are linked to concern for current or future generations, non-human animals, and anthropomorphized aspects of the environment. Concerns for purity are linked to viewing the environment as imbued with sacred value and therefore worthy of being protected at all costs. While both harm-based and purity-based framings of environmental issues can sometimes backfire, we argue that making these moral concerns salient can nevertheless bring about moral responses to environmental issues. In sum, scientists' emerging knowledge about the moral mind can be used to facilitate the sustainable conservation of the planet
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12195
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References found in this work BETA

The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.Lynn White Jr - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, Belmont: Wadsworth Company.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
Mind Perception is the Essence of Morality.Kurt Gray, Liane Young & Adam Waytz - 2012 - Psychological Inquiry 23 (2):101-124.
Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?Joshua May - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Limits of Appealing to Disgust.Joshua May - 2018 - In Nina Strohminger & Victor Kumar (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Disgust. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 151-170.
Kinds of Norms.Elizabeth O'Neill - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (5):e12416.

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