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A Perfect Moral StormThe Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change$
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Stephen M. Gardiner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379440

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379440.001.0001

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Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics

Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics

(p.301) Chapter 9 Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics
A Perfect Moral Storm

Stephen M. Gardiner

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the idea of moral corruption. In the perfect storm, we are likely to be attracted to weak or deceptive arguments that appear on the surface to license such behavior, and so to give such arguments less scrutiny that we ought. A particularly deep way of doing this is through the perversion of the very terms of the debate, moral and otherwise. Unfortunately, addressing such corruption is not easy. Not only are the motivational forces that support it powerful, but in its most sophisticated forms it seeks to co-opt important values (such as moral and epistemic values) that otherwise ought to be respected. Fortunately, we are broadly familiar with the phenomenon. This chapter illustrates it by comparing some of the recent debate about climate policy with a classic reconstruction of morally corrupt reasoning put forward by Jane Austen. The strong resemblances are disturbing.

Keywords:   sense and sensibility, moral corruption, discounting, Kant, deathbed promise

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