1st Edition

Moral Theory and Climate Change Ethical Perspectives on a Warming Planet

By Dale E. Miller, Ben Eggleston Copyright 2020
    274 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Climate change has become the most pressing moral and political problem of our time. Ethical theories help us think clearly and more fully about important moral and political issues. And yet, to date, there have been no books that have brought together a broad range of ethical theories to apply them systematically to the problems of climate change. This volume fills that deep need. Two preliminary chapters—an up-to-date synopsis of climate science and an overview of the ethical issues raised by climate change—set the stage. After this, ten leading ethicists in ten separate chapters each present a major ethical theory (or, more broadly, perspective) and discuss the implications of that view for how we decide to respond to a rapidly warming planet. Each chapter first provides a brief exposition of the view before working out what that theory “has to say” about climate change and our response to the problems it poses.

    Key features:

    • Up-to-date synopsis of climate science

    • Clear overviews of a wide range of ethical theories and perspectives by leading experts

    • Insightful discussions of the implications of these theories and perspectives for our response to climate change

    • A unique opportunity to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of various ethical viewpoints.

    1. Introduction  Dale E. Miller

    2. Modern Climate Change: A Symptom of a Single-Species High-Energy Pulse  Hans-Peter Plag

    3. Ethical Challenges Posed by Climate Change: An Overview  Madison Powers

    4. Procreation, Carbon Tax, and Poverty: An Act-Consequentialist Climate-Change Agenda  Ben Eggleston

    5. The Rule-Consequentialist Response to Climate Change  Dale E. Miller

    6. Kant and Climate Change: A Territorial Rights Approach  Alice Pinheiro Walla

    7. Contractualism and Climate Change  Paul Clements

    8. Contractarianism and Climate Change  Michael Moehler

    9. Natural Law Theory and Climate Change  Colleen McCluskey

    10. Virtue Ethics and Climate Change  Sophie Grace Chappell

    11. From Caring to Counter-Consumption: Feminist Moral Perspectives on Consumerism and Climate Change  Regina Cochrane

    12. Pragmatist Ethics and Climate Change  Steven Fesmire

    13. Phenomenology and the Ethics of Difference: Levinas, Responsibility, and Climate Change  William Edelglass


    Dale E. Miller is a Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University and the editor-in-chief of Utilitas . He is the author of J. S. Mill: Moral, Social and Political Thought (2010) and he is a co-editor of Rules, Morality, and Consequences (2000); John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life (2011); The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism (2014); and A Companion to Mill (2017).

    Ben Eggleston is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas. He is the editor of Utilitarianism: With Related Remarks from Mill’s Other Writings, by John Stuart Mill (2017), and a co-editor of John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life (2011) and The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism (2014). His research interests include normative ethics, rational choice theory, and philosophy of law.