Security, Planning and Justice: A Reply to Mintz-Woo

Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3):387-390 (2018)


In a recent paper, I argued that the mere risk of climate-related harm was itself a harm, since it undermined the security of individuals subject to that risk. In his commentary, Mintz-Woo argues that my account of the value of security is mistaken. On his view, the value of belief-relative security is already well captured by standard theories of wellbeing, and the value of fact-relative security is illusory. In the following, I attempt to respond to his concerns. First, I argue contrary to Mintz-Woo that the literature on the cognitive effect on poverty is relevant to an assessment of the value of belief-relative security. Second, I introduce a distinction between ex ante and ex post perspectives on justice, and show that straightforward prioritarian commitments motivate an ex ante concern for fact-relative security.

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Jonathan Herington
University of Rochester

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