Public Policy, Consequentialism, the Environment, and Non-Human Animals

In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 592-615 (2020)
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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.



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Mark Budolfson
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Economics and economic justice.Marc Fleurbaey - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Assessing measures of animal welfare.Heather Browning - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-24.
How to Count Animals, More or Less. [REVIEW]Eliot Michaelson - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (4):601-605.

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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Risk and Rationality.Lara Buchak - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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