A review of the Collected Writings of T. E. Hulme. Argues that Hulme, a philosopher/journist/poet who was killed in WWI, was a forerunner of the 20th-cent. mind, esp. as reflected in modernist poetry (T. S. Eliot, Imagism, Ezra Pound), aesthetics (Wilhelm Worringer), philosophy (Bergson, Jaspers, Wittgenstein), and politics (Charles Maurras, Georges Sorel).
In this chapter, Mark Budolfson and Dean Spears analyse the marginal effect of philanthropic donations. The core of their analysis is the observation that marginal good done per dollar donated is a product (in the mathematical sense) of several factors: change in good done per change in activity level of the charity in question, change in activity per change in the charity’s budget size, and change in budget size per change in the individual’s donation to the charity in question. (...) They then discuss the “hidden zero problem” that some of the terms in the equation (in particular, the last term) might be “hidden zeros” that prevent donations from doing any good—or worse, imply that they do harm—even if the charity is at the top of effective altruism rankings based on the other factors. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show the relationship between John XXIII and Robert K. Greenleaf’s understanding of leadership. By taking into consideration Greenleaf’s theory of servant-leadership – from conceptualization to model development – and Larry Spears’ influential rubric of ten servant-leadership characteristics, we will show how servant-leadership theory goes in line with that of John XXIII when both are based on a notion of the common good and human dignity.
The spectre of the repugnant conclusion and the search for a population axiology that avoids it has endured as a focus of population ethics. This is in part because the repugnant conclusion is often interpreted as a defining problem for totalism, while the implications of averagism and related views are taken to illustrate the theoretical cost of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. However, we show that this interpretation cannot be sustained unless one focuses only on a special case of the repugnant (...) conclusion: namely, the subset of instances of the repugnant conclusion where there is no portion of the population unaffected by the choice between population outcomes (as in Derek Parfit’s original illustration). To avoid an inappropriate focus on only this proper subset of instances of the repugnant conclusion, we formulate a general characterization of the repugnant conclusion. We then prove formally that all leading welfarist axiologies imply this conclusion, including averagism and Ng’s Theory X0 , including probabilistic and ‘very repugnant’ variants that involve the addition of negative lives. We then prove that the full range of axiologies considered by population ethics each imply an extended version of the repugnant conclusion, including axiologies that are incomplete, intransitive, rank-dependent, person-affecting, and/or pluralist. The upshot is that the repugnant conclusion does not ultimately tell against any approach to axiology, and the methodological requirement to avoid the repugnant conclusion should be dropped from population axiology. (shrink)
How much should the present generations sacrifice to reduce emissions today, in order to reduce the future harms of climate change? Within climate economics, debate on this question has been focused on so-called “ethical parameters” of social time preference and inequality aversion. We show that optimal climate policy similarly importantly depends on the future of the developing world. In particular, although global poverty is falling and the economic lives of the poor are improving worldwide, leading models of climate economics may (...) be too optimistic about two central predictions: future population growth in poor countries, and future convergence in total factor productivity (TFP). We report results of small modifications to a standard model: under plausible scenarios for high future population growth (especially in sub-Saharan Africa) and for low future TFP convergence, we find that optimal near-term carbon taxes could be substantially larger. (shrink)
We analyze the role of ethical values in the determination of the social cost of carbon, arguing that the familiar debate about discounting is too narrow. Other ethical issues are equally important to computing the social cost of carbon, and we highlight inequality, risk, and population ethics. Although the usual approach, in the economics of cost-benefit analysis for climate policy, is confined to a utilitarian axiology, the methodology of the social cost of carbon is rather flexible and can be expanded (...) to a broader set of social-welfare approaches. [Open access]. (shrink)
Future population growth is uncertain and matters for climate policy: higher growth entails more emissions and means more people will be vulnerable to climate-related impacts. We show that how future population is valued importantly determines mitigation decisions. Using the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model, we explore two approaches to valuing population: a discounted version of total utilitarianism (TU), which considers total wellbeing and is standard in social cost of carbon dioxide (SCC) models, and of average utilitarianism (AU), which ignores population size (...) and sums only each time period’s discounted average wellbeing. Under both approaches, as population increases the SCC increases, but optimal peak temperature decreases. The effect is larger under TU, because it responds to the fact that a larger population means climate change hurts more people: for example, in 2025, assuming the United Nations (UN)-high rather than UN-low population scenario entails an increase in the SCC of 85% under TU vs. 5% under AU. The difference in the SCC between the two population scenarios under TU is comparable to commonly debated decisions regarding time discounting. Additionally, we estimate the avoided mitigation costs implied by plausible reductions in population growth, finding that large near-term savings ($billions annually) occur under TU; savings under AU emerge in the more distant future. These savings are larger than spending shortfalls for human development policies that may lower fertility. Finally, we show that whether lowering population growth entails overall improvements in wellbeing—rather than merely cost savings—again depends on the ethical approach to valuing population. (shrink)
Formal arguments have proven that avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion is impossible without rejecting one or more highly plausible population principles. To many, such proofs establish not only a deep challenge for axiology, but also pose an important practical problem of how policymaking can confidently proceed without resolving any of the central questions of population ethics. Here we offer deflationary responses: first to the practical challenge, and then to the more fundamental challenge for axiology. Regarding the practical challenge, we provide an (...) overview of recent literature that explores the implications for public policy of the Repugnant Conclusion and related puzzles within population ethics, and shows that there is more commonality in the implications of different population axiologies than is generally recognized. The upshot is that uncertainty about population ethics presents no important problem for policymaking, and the importance of population ethics to policymaking has been overstated. We then turn to more fundamental issues about axiology, and describe a new series of formal proofs that undermine the idea that any plausible axiology could avoid the Repugnant Conclusion, including those that are assumed to avoid it in the literature. The philosophical upshot is that the Repugnant Conclusion cannot plausibly be avoided, and so it is a mistake to assume as a constraint on a plausible axiology that it must be avoided, as is assumed by most of the literature in population ethics, including by all of the fundamental impossibility theorems. (shrink)
The focus of this chapter is public policy and consequentialism, especially issues that arise in connection with the environment – i.e. the natural world, including non-human animals. We integrate some of the existing literature on environmental economics, welfare economics, and policy with the literature on environmental values and philosophy. The emphasis on environmental policy is motivated by the fact that it is arguably the most philosophically interesting and challenging application of consequentialism to policy, as it includes all the challenges of (...) valuing the distribution of human wealth and power, and has the further challenge of putting these consequences on the same scale as consequences for human health, non-human animals, and nature. We suggest that standard methods of (economic) policy analysis provide a good approximation of correct welfarist analysis, except that they must be supplemented with methods for valuing animal wellbeing and tradeoffs with human wellbeing. We then provide the needed methods. (shrink)
This paper asks about the climate damages that Indian policymakers can expect. What is the likely magnitude of climate damages, and how sensitive are they to the level of warming? How much worse would climate damages be for Indians under, say, 5° of warming rather than 3°? Understanding the magnitude of climate damages and how rapidly they increase as temperature change increases is critical for finding the right climate mitigation policy. This paper provides projections of India’s climate vulnerability on the (...) basis of new microeconomic and macroeconomic evidence. The authors’ quantifications show that India is highly vulnerable to climate damage. Their baseline macroeconomic approach suggests that climate change peaking at 5°C, rather than 3°C, would be as detrimental to Indian well-being as a reduction in GDP by about 18 percent for each of the years from 2020 to 2040. Such an equivalent threat to near-term economic outcomes would be an overriding policy priority if political leaders anticipated it. The authors’ microeconomic results suggest that this may be an underestimate, because it ignores humidity. Emerging evidence suggests that humans are especially vulnerable to exposure to high temperatures in contexts of high humidity; humidity is a previously underappreciated and unquantified reason way in which India may be more climate-vulnerable even than some hotter developing and middle-income countries. (shrink)
The health co-benefits of CO2 mitigation can provide a strong incentive for climate policy through reductions in air pollutant emissions that occur when targeting shared sources. However, reducing air pollutant emissions may also have an important co-harm, as the aerosols they form produce net cooling overall. Nevertheless, aerosol impacts have not been fully incorporated into cost-benefit modeling that estimates how much the world should optimally mitigate. Here we find that when both co-benefits and co-harms are taken fully into account, optimal (...) climate policy results in immediate net benefits globally, overturning previous findings from cost-benefit models that omit these effects. The global health benefits from climate policy could reach trillions of dollars annually, but will importantly depend on the air quality policies that nations adopt independently of climate change. Depending on how society values better health, economically optimal levels of mitigation may be consistent with a target of 2 °C or lower. (shrink)
Over the past few decades, we have improved our understanding of the health impacts of climate change.1 Although many public health researchers have contributed to this knowledge, relatively few are aware of how their work may relate to the social cost of carbon. The social cost of carbon is a core economic concept in climate policy and one that can—and should—benefit directly from research produced by the public health community. The concept’s importance was recently highlighted by this past year’s Nobel (...) Prize in Economic Sciences, which was awarded to William Nordhaus in part for his pioneering work developing models to estimate the social cost of carbon. Below we describe this concept, explain how it is calculated, and provide some brief guidance on how health research can improve its estimation. (shrink)
This paper draws on recent re-conceptualisations of the notions of 'care' and 'caring' (Noddings, 1992; Tronío, 1993) to explore data from semi-structured interviews with the parents and key workers for about twenty children under three who were attending two London children's centres. Located in an environment of frequent new policy initiatives, including an advocacy of parental partnership, it seeks to describe the ways that these adults construct their mutual relationships, and the difficulties which may attend this process. Class and cultural (...) differences, as well as conflicting understandings of 'professionalism' are shown to inform the development of the 'triangle of care', with potential consequences for the care and welfare of the small child on whom the relationship is focused. (shrink)
Animals, like humans, experience different levels of well-being depending on decisions made by others. As a result, the well-being of animals must be included in any full accounting of the well-being consequences of decisions. However, this is almost never done in large-scale policy and investment analyses, even though it is common to quantify the consequences for human welfare in these decision analyses. This is partly due to prejudice, but increasingly also because we do not currently have good methods for quantifying (...) animal well-being consequences and putting them on the same scale as quantified human well-being consequences. We might call this ‘the problem of interspecies comparisons.’ This important barrier to including animal well-being in decision-making is the result of an insufficiently developed theory and practice of animal well-being and its relation to human well-being. This chapter explains the problem of interspecies comparisons, explains recent research that develops methods to overcome this problem. (shrink)
The article reviews the book " Epistemology of Perception : Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, Jewel of Reflection on the Truth : The Perception Chapter Transliterated Text, Translation, and Philosophical Commentary," by Stephen H. Phillips and N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya.
Hua-yen is regarded as the highest form of Buddhism by most modern Japanese and Chinese scholars. This book is a description and analysis of the Chinese form of Buddhism called Hua-yen, Flower Ornament, based largely on one of the more systematic treatises of its third patriarch. Hua-yen Buddhism strongly resembles Whitehead's process philosophy, and has strong implications for modern philosophy and religion. Hua-yen Buddhism explores the philosophical system of Hua-yen in greater detail than does Garma C.C. Chang's _The Buddhist Teaching (...) of Totality _. An additional value is the development of the questions of ethics and history. Thus, Professor Cook presents a valuable sequel to Professor Chang's pioneering work. The Flower Ornament School was developed in China in the late 7th and early 8th centuries as an innovative interpretation of Indian Buddhist doctrines in the light of indigenous Chinese presuppositions, chiefly Taoist. Hua-yen is a cosmic ecology, which views all existence as an organic unity, so it has an obvious appeal to the modern individual, both students and layman. (shrink)