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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Postgraduate Course: Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility (PLIT11016)

Course Outline
School School of Social and Political Science College College of Humanities and Social Science
Course type Standard Availability Available to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken) SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits 20
Home subject area Politics Other subject area None
Course website None Taught in Gaelic? No
Course description This course would consider how the problem of climate change tests and expands fundamental ideas in political philosophy. What moral responsibility do we have for the harm done through climate change, as members of rich nations, voters in powerful democracies or shareholders in and customers of polluting corporations? What duties does this give us, collectively and individually? Are these duties enforceable, and by whom? Are we required to cut emissions by the claims of justice of vulnerable communities, future generation or even other species?
Entry Requirements
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites None
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus? No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2010/11 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
No Classes have been defined for this Course
First Class Week 1, Wednesday, 11:10 - 13:00, Zone: Central. 7.01, DHT
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will:
- Develop their understanding of fundamental concepts in political and moral philosophy
- Apply these concepts to the problem of climate change and in turn use that problem to evaluate the current dominant political theory, liberalism
- Learn to present coherent, balanced philosophical arguments, in written or debate form
- Engage critically with the work of major political theorists and evaluate their arguments in the light of the practical dilemmas posed by climate change
- Engage with their subject as it is being developed by discussing some of the newest and most controversial topics in political theory
Assessment Information
Assessment will be by two essays of 2000 words each (50 per cent each)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description This proposal has the support of Professor Tim Hayward, Programme Director of the MSc in International Political Theory. The programme directors of the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security, the MSc in International and European Politics, the MSc (R) in Ethics and Political Philosophy and the new LLM programme in Global Environmental and Climate Change Law are all also enthusiastic about the course and would list it as an option.
Syllabus Part 1. Environmental injustice

Week 1: Environmental injustices at home and abroad
Does the imposition of environmental hazards constitute an injustice? Distributive and participatory justice. Exporting hazards - do state borders make a difference? The consent excuse.

Week 2: Bequeathing hazards
Nuclear waste disposal, climate change and justice to future generations. Appeal to hypothetical or second party consent.

Part 2. Harm and moral responsibility

Week 3: Human rights, human flourishing and environmental harm
Flourishing and the capabilities approach. Interest-based human rights. Does climate change constitute a rights violation? Do we need to appeal to rights?

Week 4: Harm to future generations
The Non-Identity Problem: how can we be said to harm future generations by our actions if they would not have existed if we had acted otherwise?

Week 5: Collective responsibility
&«It wasn&©t me&ª - the problem of holding moral agents responsible for what was not the result of an intentional individual or collective act. Individual, corporate and weak collective responsibility.

Part 3. Duties

Week 6: Individual moral duties
&«What should I do?&ª $ú collective and correlative individual duties in the face of collective responsibility.

Week 7: Who pays?
How should the burdens of collective action to tackle climate change be allocated? Should past polluters pay? Should the beneficiaries of past pollution? Should those most able to pay do so? What help do western countries owe developing nations in meeting emissions targets and bearing the costs of adapting to climate change?

Part 4. Pushing the boundaries

Week 8: Beyond the human
Is it of moral significance that climate change harms sentient nonhuman animals, or that it harms the natural world more generally? Capabilities and expanding the sphere of justice.

Week 9: The ethics of overpopulation
Population grown, consumption and the limits of natural resources. Do we have (enforceable) duties to limit population growth? Would these conflict with women&©s rights to reproductive liberty?

Week 10: Climate change as a test for liberalism
Does the problem of climate change (requiring strong collective action) constitute a challenge that the dominant political theory, liberalism, is unable to meet? Would rival political theories do better?
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Brian Barry (1999): &«Sustainability and Intergenerational Justice&ª in Andrew Dobson ed. Fairness and Futurity (OUP)
Simon Caney (2005): &«Cosmopolitan Justice, Responsibility and Global Climate Change&ª (Leiden Journal of International Law 18)
Simon Caney (2006): &«Cosmopolitan Justice, Rights and Global Climate Change&ª (The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 19)
Simon Caney (2008): "Human rights, climate change and discounting" (Environmental Politics 17)
Elizabeth Cripps (forthcoming): "Climate Change, Collective Harm and Legitimate Coercion", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Stephen Gardiner (2001): &«The Real Tragedy of the Commons&ª (Philosophy and Public Affairs 30)
Stephen Gardiner (2004): "The Global Warming Tragedy and the Dangerous Illusion of the Kyoto Protocol" (Ethics & International Affairs 18)
Stephen Gardiner (2005): &«Survey Article: Ethics and Global Climate Change&ª (Ethics 114)
James Garvey (2008): The Ethics of Climate Change: Right and Wrong in a Warming World (Continuum)
Axel Gosseries (2004): "Historical Emissions and Free-Riding" (Ethical Perspectives 11)
Casper Hare (2007): &«Voices from Another World: Must We Respect the Interests of People Who Do Not, and Will Never, Exist?&ª (Ethics 117)
Tim Hayward (2009): &«International Political Theory and the Global Environment: Some Critical Questions for Liberal Cosmopolitans&ª (Journal of Social Philosophy 40)
Garrett Hardin (1968): &«The Tragedy of the Commons&ª (Science 162)
Kates, Carol (2004): &«Reproductive Liberty and Overpopulation&ª (Environmental Values 13)
Christopher Kutz (2000): Complicity: Law and Ethics for a Collective Age (Cambridge University Press)
Larry May (1992): Sharing Responsibility (University of Chicago Press), chapter 6: &«Collective inaction and responsibility&ª
Martha Nussbaum (2000): Women and Human Development (Cambridge University Press)
Martha Nussbaum (2004): &«Beyond $ùCompassion and Humanity: Justice for Nonhuman Animals&ª in Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum ed. Animal Rights, (OUP)
John O&©Neill (1993): Ecology, Policy and Politics: Human Well-being and the Natural World (Routledge)
Derek Parfit (1986): "Overpopulation and the Quality of Life" in Peter Singer ed. Applied Ethics (OUP, 1986)
Derek Parfit (1984): Reasons and Persons (OUP, corrected reprint 1987), chapter 16: &«The Non-Identity Problem&ª
Scheffler, Samuel (1995): &«Individual Responsibility in a Global Age&ª (Social Philosophy and Policy 12)
David Schlosberg (2007): Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature (OUP)
Kristin Shrader-Frechette (2002): Environmental Justice: Creating Equality, Reclaiming Democracy (OUP)
Kristin Shrader-Frechette (2007): Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health (OUP)
Henry Shue (1981): &«Exporting Hazards&ª (Ethics 91)
Henry Shue (1999): &«Bequeathing Hazards: Security Rights and Property Rights of Future Humans&ª in Global Environmental Economics: Equity and the Limits to Markets, ed. Mohammed Dore and Timothy Mount (Blackwell)
Henry Shue (1999): &«Global Environment and International Inequality&ª (Royal Institute of International Affairs 75)
Peter Singer (1986): &«All Animals are Equal&ª in Peter Singer ed. Applied Ethics (OUP)
Peter Singer (2002): One World (Yale University Press)
James Woodward (1896): "The Non-Identity Problem" (Ethics 96)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Keywords Not entered
Course organiser Dr Elizabeth Cripps
Course secretary Mrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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