The Politics of Sustainability : Philosophical perspectives book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Sustainability
Philosophical perspectives

ISBN 9781138854291
Published June 15, 2015 by Routledge
242 Pages

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Book Description

Responsibility for future generations is easily postulated in the abstract but it is much more difficult to set it to work in the concrete. It requires some changes in individual and institutional attitudes that are in opposition to what has been called the "systems variables" of industrial society: individual freedom, consumerism, and equality.

The Politics of Sustainability from Philosophical Perspectives seeks to examine the motivational and institutional obstacles standing in the way of a consistent politics of sustainability and to look for strategies to overcome them. It argues that though there have been significant changes in individual and especially collective attitudes to growth, intergenerational solidarity and nature preservation, it is far from certain whether these will be sufficient to encourage politicians into giving sustainable policies priority over other legitimate concerns. Having a philosophical approach as its main focus, the volume is at the same time interdisciplinary in combining political, psychological, ecological and economic analyses.

This book will be a contribution to the joint effort to meet the theoretical and practical challenges posed by climate change and other impending global perils and will be of interest to students of environmental studies, applied ethics and environmental psychology.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Overview  1. Origin and objects of the volume  Part 2 Institutional and individual determinants of non-sustainable  2. Climate change and motivation: The obstacle from conflicting perspectives behaviour  3. The liberal tragedy of the Commons. The deficiency of democracy in changing climate  4. Institutional obstacles to Sustainable Governance of natural resources: a deliberative approach  5. Ideology and practice of the 'Green Economy' – world views shaping science and politics  Part 3 Visions of the future, new orientations  6. Some moral pragmatics of climate change  7. Climate justice, motivation and harm  8. We can’t, we wont. Climate justice for the unable and unwilling  9. Is democracy an obstacle to ecological change?  10. Sustainable action and 'moral corruption'  Part 4 Individual and institutional roads to sustainability  11. Libertarian Paternalism, sustainable self-binding and bounded freedom  12. The 'Missing Link': Polarization and the need for 'Trial by Jury' decision procedures  13. An extended separation of powers model – the theoretical basis for the representation of future generations

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Dieter Birnbacher is Professor of Philosophy at University of Düsseldorf, Germany

May Thorseth is Professor of Philosophy at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway



"‘The Politics of Sustainability: Philosophical Perspectives’, edited by Dieter Birnhacher and May Thorseth, brings a new angle into the discussion of the politics of sustainable development: ethical considerations."Jose Goldemberg, Electrotechnical and Energy Institute (IEE), University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil