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Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World$
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Clare Heyward and Dominic Roser

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744047

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744047.001.0001

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Principles or Pathways? Improving the Contribution of Philosophical Ethics to Climate Policy

Principles or Pathways? Improving the Contribution of Philosophical Ethics to Climate Policy

Chapter:
(p.296) Chapter 14 Principles or Pathways? Improving the Contribution of Philosophical Ethics to Climate Policy
Source:
Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World
Author(s):

Martin Kowarsch

Ottmar Edenhofer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744047.003.0015

How can philosophical ethics inform conflict-riddled climate policy debates? From the perspective of Deweyan pragmatism, climate ethics should go beyond discussing abstract ethical principles isolated from decision-making, given the complexity of climate policy pathways. Rather, philosophers should help identify and evaluate the practical implications of different means to achieve alternative policy objectives. Such a contribution to climate policy may be more useful: it could, for example, reveal new adverse side effects or overlaps between pathways, or could even entail value changes, that is, causing hitherto fundamental ethical beliefs to be revalued in light of practical implications. This pragmatist approach to ‘non-ideal’ applied ethics requires highly interdisciplinary, integrated assessments of policy pathways and an iterative learning process. This chapter evaluates and uses examples from the recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with a focus on its ethics chapter, to illustrate the benefits and challenges of such integrated ethics.

Keywords:   non-ideal applied ethics, climate policy pathways, integrated assessment, Deweyan pragmatism, practical implications, side effects, value changes, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, iterative learning

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