Climate Change and Virtue Ethics

In Pellegrino Gianfranco & Marcello Di Paola (eds.), Handbook of Philosophy of Climate Change. Springer Nature. pp. 587-600 (2023)
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Over the past two decades, virtue ethicists have begun to devote increasing attention to applied ethics. In particular, the application of virtue ethical frameworks to the environmental ethics debate has flourished. This chapter reviews recent contributions to the literature in this field and highlights some strengths and weaknesses of thinking about climate change through a virtue ethical lens. Section “Two Benefits of Virtue Ethical Approaches to Climate Change” explores two benefits of applying virtue ethics to climate change: (a) we can better capture the phenomenology of our moral experience, and (b) we avoid the problem of inconsequentialism. Section “A Catalogue of Environmental Virtues” analyzes various practical proposals that have been put forward in the form of specific environmental virtues. Section “An Objection to Virtue-Oriented Approaches to Climate Change” reconstructs a fundamental objection to the idea of using a virtue ethical normative approach to tackling the urgent and imminent dangers of climate change.

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Enrico Galvagni
University of St. Andrews


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