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Archive for the ‘Environmental Philosophy’ Category

If the title of this post sounds familiar, then you may have read or heard of Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. Essentially, Sowell categorizes two conflicting visions, which shape and determine how social visions develop including economic and moral visions. The two visions, which may often overlap are the constrained vision and the unconstrained vision. After a brief description of the two visions, two videos will be provided that I believe fairly represent each side.

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From a recent article in The Guardian:

Peter Singer was in Oxford last week. The bestselling advocate of utilitarianism was the star contributor to a conference in which he talked with a group of Christian ethicists. Given Singer’s inflammatory views on matters such as euthanasia and infanticide, the dialogue was striking for its agreements, particularly the common cause that can be made between Christians and utilitarians when tackling global poverty, animal exploitation and climate change.

However, it was on the last issue that the conference demonstrated real philosophical interest too. Singer admitted that his brand of utilitarianism – preference utilitarianism – struggles to get to grips with the vastness of the problem of climate change. Further, there is an element that comes naturally to Christian ethics which his ethics might need in order to do so. It has to do with whether there are moral imperatives that can be held as objectively true.

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From the Department of Philosophy at the University of South Florida:

We are currently preparing the 2010 Climate Philosophy Newsletter at the University of South Florida. We would like to invite you to send us research news you have and want to share regarding the philosophical study of climate, climate change, and global warming. (Whether what you’re doing is ethics, epistemology, philosophy of science, metaphysics, aesthetics, feminism, even history – connections from all these fields are relevant.) We welcome information about recent or upcoming publications, presentations, and works in progress.

We’d like to send out the newsletter in December. Please email news and inquiries to Martin Schonfeld or Nathan Draluck. Thanks!

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Phillip Kitcher was here a few weeks ago and gave two talks on the intersections of science, society, freedom, and democracy. I thought that some of you might like to watch and discuss what was said. Below are the videos: (more…)

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Farah Godrej (University of California, Riverside) is the speaker for UNF’s second annual John C. Maraldo lecture. Professor Godrej will present her paper, “Non-Western Traditions and Gandhian ‘Ascetic’ Environmental Ethics,” tomorrow evening (Thursday, April 15th), in building 15, room 1304, 7:30 – 9:00 P.M.

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Indeed, the principal reason why, in the first place, states and cities were ever organized at all was to defend private property. – Cicero 1

In 1772, shortly before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Samuel Adams, who was a member of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting, wrote the following:

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, the right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. Those are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.2

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Adams and the other founders of our constitutional republic felt strongly that the right to property is a fundamental part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable that even those who go as far as to deny the validity of eminent domain must acknowledge that to the extent the individual use of property affects other members of the community, both immediately and in the future, the community develops a legitimate interest in that use. Environmental public policy attempts to manage that interest, but is often a blunt and ineffective instrument due to a lack of scientific understanding about the long-term effects of such policies, and because of the political and financial self-interests that often drive them. This essay addresses the political and moral implications associated with the restriction of personal liberty and property rights by government that may be deemed necessary in the name of environmental protection.

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On Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 I attended a lecture by Dr. Dale Jamieson, director of environmental studies at New York University, on “The Moral and Political Challenges of Climate Change” at the University of North Florida.

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Dr. Jamieson noted at both the beginning and end of his lecture that the nature of global climate change presents an almost insoluble problem. He gave a brief overview of the scientific findings over the past century including the work of Drs. Arrhenius (i.) and Plass.(ii.) He went on to quote oceanographer Roger Revelle and geophysicist Hans Suess stating that by releasing the large quantities of carbon previously stored in fossil fuels into the atmosphere, humans are conducting a giant geophysical experiment without considering the results.(iii.) There is much evidence to suggest that climate change is caused by man, and groups such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have concluded that this is the case.(iv.) Nevertheless, Dr. Jamieson would not acknowledge that there are literally hundreds of other reputable climatologists from respected universities who discount the theory that human beings are making a significant impact upon the earth’s climate. (V.) He did note that the progression of climate change would not be affected for over a thousand years even if action to reverse the process were to begin to be taken today.

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