The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in the Age of Climate Change

Hardcover | October 5, 2015

byByron Williston

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The recent Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that continuing inaction on climate change presents a significant threat to social stability. IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri put the matter succinctly in stating recently that the new reportshows how our persistent inaction on climate change presents a grave threat to "the very social stability of human systems". The Anthropocene Project attempts to make philosophical sense of this, examining the reasons for the inaction highlighted by the IPCC, and suggests the normative bases for overcoming it. Williston identifies that we are now in "the human age" - the Anthropocene - but he argues that this is no meregeological marker. It is instead best viewed as the latest permutation of an already existing moral and political project rooted in Enlightenment values. Williston shows that it can be fruitful to do climate ethics with this focus because in so many aspects of our culture we already endorse broadlyEnlightenment values about progress, equality, and the value of knowledge. But these values must be robustly instantiated in the dispositions of moral agents, and so we require a climate ethics emphasizing the virtues of justice, truthfulness, and rational hope.One of the book's most original claims is that our moral failure on this issue is, in large part, the product of motivated irrationality on the part of the world's most prosperous people. We have failed to live up to our commitments to justice and truthfulness because we are, respectively, morallyweak and self-deceived. Understanding this provides the basis for the rational hope that we might yet find a way to avoid climate catastrophe.

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The recent Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that continuing inaction on climate change presents a significant threat to social stability. IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri put the matter succinctly in stating recently that the new reportshows how our persistent inaction on climate c...

Dr. Byron Williston is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University. He received his PhD in Philosophy at The University of Toronto, and has taught at the University of Toronto, The University of South Florida, and Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the author of Environmental Ethics for Canadians, 2nd edition (f...

other books by Byron Williston

Environmental Ethics for Canadians
Environmental Ethics for Canadians

Paperback|Oct 19 2011

$90.14 online$99.95list price(save 9%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:October 5, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198746717

ISBN - 13:9780198746713

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Climate Change and the Virtues2. The Anthropocene Project3. The Spectre of Fragmentation4. Justice5. Truthfulness6. Hope7. Conclusion: Will They Forgive Us?