Journal of Global Ethics 7 (2):149 - 160 (2011)

Byron Williston
Wilfrid Laurier University
In a recent letter to Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, British columnist and climate change gadfly George Monbiot pleaded with Canada to clean up its greenhouse gas emissions act. The letter appeared just a week before the Copenhagen climate conference. In it, Monbiot alleged that Canada's newly acquired status as oil superpower threatens to ?brutalize? the country, as it has other oil-rich countries (Monbiot, G. 2009. Please, Canada, clean up your act, The Globe and Mail, November 30, A15). In this paper, I want to expand on Monbiot's bleak assessment of the Canadian national psyche. It has been pointed out that climate change is forcing us to rethink philosophical ethics. Some, like Dale Jamieson, believe that virtue theory is best equipped to meet the challenge of understanding the moral dimensions of this phenomenon. I think this is basically right, but that climate change is also forcing us to reassess our capacity for moral progress. The two challenges are linked. In what follows, I will first (Section 1) motivate the appeal to virtue ethics as a new way of understanding the ethics of climate change. Next (Section 2), I offer a virtue ethical account of moral progress. With the latter in place, we can (Section 3) uncover the real nature of Canada's moral failing on climate change: it is an impediment to the moral progress of our species
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DOI 10.1080/17449626.2011.590274
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.

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