The Value of Darkness: A Moral Framework for Urban Nighttime Lighting

Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (2):607-628 (2018)

Abstract
The adverse effects of artificial nighttime lighting, known as light pollution, are emerging as an important environmental issue. To address these effects, current scientific research focuses mainly on identifying what is bad or undesirable about certain types and uses of lighting at night. This paper adopts a value-sensitive approach, focusing instead on what is good about darkness at night. In doing so, it offers a first comprehensive analysis of the environmental value of darkness at night from within applied ethics. A design for values orientation is utilized to conceptualize, define, and categorize the ways in which value is derived from darkness. Nine values are identified and categorized via their type of good, temporal outlook, and spatial characteristics. Furthermore, these nine values are translated into prima facie moral obligations that should be incorporated into future design choices, policy-making, and innovations to nighttime lighting. Thus, the value of darkness is analyzed with the practical goal of informing future decision-making about urban nighttime lighting.
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-017-9924-0
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The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross & H. W. B. Joseph - 1933 - Journal of Philosophy 30 (19):517-527.
The Moral Dimensions of Infrastructure.Shane Epting - 2016 - Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (2):435-449.
Moral Theory: An Introduction.Mark Timmons - 2001 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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