Contractualism and Climate Change

In Marcello Di Paola & Gianfranco Pellegrino (eds.), Canned Heat: Ethics and Politics of Climate Change. Routledge. pp. 115-128 (2014)
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Climate change is ‘a complex problem raising issues across and between a large number of disciplines, including physical and life sciences, political science, economics, and psychology, to name just a few’ (Gardiner 2006: 397). It is also a moral problem. Therefore, in this chapter, I will consider what kind of a contribution an ethical theory called ‘contractualism’ can make to the climate change debates. This chapter first introduces contractualism. It then describes a simple climate change scenario. The third section explains what kind of moral obligations we would have in that situation according to contractualism. Finally, the last section discusses some of the advantages and problems of the sketched view. These discussions should help us to better understand contractualism and illustrate how contractualism could perhaps enable us to come to grips with some of the more difficult moral aspects of climate change.



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Jussi Suikkanen
University of Birmingham

Citations of this work

Contractualism.Jussi Suikkanen - 2020 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Contractualism, Person-Affecting Wrongness and the Non-identity Problem.Corey Katz - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):103-119.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
One world: the ethics of globalization.Peter Singer - 2002 - New Haven: Yale University Press.

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