• Ane Slot Sørensen
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
There is mounting evidence that climate change is an impending threat to biodiversity and Earth’s carry-ing capacity, and the root of this problem seems to lie in humanity’s extensive consumption of the Earth’s limited resources. This problem requires a new way to use resources and a discussion of our moral re-sponsibility as human beings. For most people though, climate change seems abstract and in daily activi-ties we can forget the need to act ethically. This paper links this to an ideology that seems to permeate most societies today: the capitalist mentality. This way of thinking is argued to have led to a dualistic worldview, where we perceive the Earth as mere means for our goals. At the same time, we do not seem to want to give up our ‘good life’ for a future that seems far away. This seems to lead to a discrepancy be-tween humanity’s ambitions to lead a good life, and the limited resources available. Therefore, this paper explores how an individual person’s desire to lead a good life and society’s need for growth can be under-stood in the area between ethical and economic values in connection with sustainable development.
Different theorists are used to analyze the capitalist structure and explain how the world cannot be sustained in agreement with the idea of increasing growth. Two theories are juxtaposed, where one per-spective praises the need for a scientific account of climate change, while the other perspective speaks in favor of a moral and aesthetic representation of our responsibility as humans to care for the Earth. A com-bination of these two perspectives is suggested, as the scientific account is crucial for a presentation of the need for action, and a moral perspective is needed to help foster common responsibility. However, the moral perspective is proposed as having an advantage, since it can be crucial to upholding the possi-bility of living a good life as humans in accordance with sustainability. The paper also explores how we can encourage the ethical perspective through an exploration of the concept of virtues and finds that differ-ent organizations and institutions can help encourage citizens to start taking more moral responsibility for the common good. This view is elaborated in an account of the way that common practices can contribute to overrule the dualistic split between humans and nature that the capitalist structure molded.
This leads to a discussion of the ability to live a good life within limits defined by common agreement upon sustainable and social boundaries and goals. It is proposed that the economic ‘Doughnut-model’ can be introduced as a way of pointing to a future that can encompass freedom of choice but requires a dif-ferent view of growth that originates in common values aiming at a sustainable future for humanity and the planet. The paper concludes that this requires a definition of the good life that involves access to basic life necessities but also an incorporation of intrinsic values that can be developed through the communi-ties we are a part of. This will lead to a stronger comprehension of sustainability, where we recognize the moral responsibility to live sustainably.
Publication date3 Jun 2019
Number of pages60
ID: 305024201