Why Fly? Prudential Value, Climate Change, and the Ethics of Long-distance Leisure Travel

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-19 (forthcoming)
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We argue that the prudential benefits of long-distance leisure travel can justify such trips even though there are strong and important reasons against long-distance flying. This is because prudential benefits can render otherwise impermissible actions permissible, and because, according to dominant theories about wellbeing, long-distance leisure travel provides significant prudential benefits. However, this ‘wellbeing argument’ for long-distance leisure travel must be qualified in two ways. First, because travellers are epistemically privileged with respect to knowledge about what is good for them, they must look critically at their own assessment of the prudential benefits of a trip. Second, the wellbeing argument is unlikely to support prudential arguments for long-distance leisure trips made by frequent flyers.

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