Climate change - do I make a difference?

Gesang, Bernward

Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2017
The title of a journal, publication series: Environmental Ethics
Volume: 39
Issue number: 1
Page range: 3-19
Place of publication: Denton
Publishing house: Center for Environmental Philosophy, University of North Texas
ISSN: 0163-4275
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Philosophie II (Gesang 2009-)
Subject: 100 Philosophy
Abstract: When my individual action is only one among a large number of similar actions and does not seem to make any difference to the bad collective outcome, can it nonetheless be condemned by act-utilitarianism? This question has currently regained interest with papers e.g. by Shelly Kagan, Julia Nefsky and Felix Pinkert. Christopher Morgan-Knapp and Charles Goodman answer the question in the affirmative for miniscule emissions in the context of climate change. They use expected utility analysis as Kagan did in consumer ethics. In this paper, I want to show that assumptions about the impact of emissions vary according to some underlying empirical scenarios all of which are possible. Individual actions might be relevant in the sense of contributing to a mere linear accumulation of emissions; or they might be relevant by leading to an accumulation in the form of crossing thresholds, be it one or several; finally, such actions might not be relevant at all. To give an answer that solves the problem and that is based solely on expected utility analysis is impossible. So I reject the result of Morgan-Knapp/Goodman.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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