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Confronting the moral challenge of climate change

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Climate change is creating daily moral dilemmas that affect every choice we make from what we eat to how we vote.

How we confront these ethical questions in the context of climate change is the subject of 2019’s Simone Weil Lecture on Human Value at the Australian Catholic University, Virtue in a Changing Climate.

Oxford Professor of Moral Philosophy and ACU Research Fellow Professor Roger Crisp will examine how we might respond morally to our rapidly changing climate, drawing on the insights of the ancient Greeks and the new thinking of recent philosophers about moral decisions.

“It is now clear that humanity is facing a climate emergency, and that it is most likely our own fault. The question is what does that mean for how each of us should act now?” said Professor Crisp.

“The notion of global warming was of course unknown to the ancient philosophers, but this lecture will show that their ideas on virtue and happiness have much to teach us about how to live with contemporary challenges.”

But ancient philosophy is not enough. Traditional ethical thinking focuses on individual decisions. The environment is a context where collective action is paramount. More recent philosophers are breaching this gap with work on group ethics.

“These insights may be more helpful to us in our moral decision-making as we confront a climate emergency that affects us all,” said Professor Crisp.

Professor Roger Crisp is Uehiro Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy St Anne’s College Oxford and Professor of Moral Philosophy University of Oxford and Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.

The Simone Weil Lecture is a free public lecture held annually in Brisbane and Melbourne, inspired by the ethical vision of the French philosopher and political activist. Weil emphasised attentive compassion and obligation to others and had a non-negotiable commitment to justice.

Source: ACU

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