Climate Change and the Virtues
The chapter begins by exploring an illuminating historical analogue to our current crisis: the global experience of climate change in the seventeenth century. The goal here is to draw a contrast between the general reaction to climate change in the seventeenth century and the very different reaction many had to the Lisbon earthquake roughly a century later, when the principles of the Enlightenment had become established in European culture. The juxtaposition describes a salutary historical trajectory. Next, the virtue-ethical approach to this problem is described, beginning with an introduction to the three virtues whose analysis forms the core of the book—justice, truthfulness, and hope—and going on to say why it is that these three virtues are so important in the age of the Anthropocene.
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