Postgraduate Course: Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility (PLIT11016)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
||Availability||Available to all students
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Home subject area||Politics
||Other subject area||None
||Taught in Gaelic?||No
|Course description||This course explores 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 (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?||No
Course Delivery Information
|Delivery period: 2012/13 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1)
||Learn enabled: Yes
|Central||Seminar||5.15, Charteris Land, Holyrood||1-11|| 11:10 - 13:00|
||Week 1, Wednesday, 11:10 - 13:00, Zone: Central. 5.15, Charteris Land, Holyrood |
|No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- 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
|1st assessed essay of 1500-2000 words (40%) 2nd assessed essay of 2000-2500 words (50%) Tutorial assessment (10%)|
Environmental justice: local and international
Does the imposition of environmental hazards constitute an injustice? Distributive and participatory justice. Exporting hazards - do state borders make a difference? The consent excuse.
Climate change, human flourishing and human rights
Human flourishing and the capabilities approach. Interest-based human rights. Does climate change constitute a rights violation? Do we need to appeal to rights?
Climate change and collective responsibility
How to hold moral agents responsible for what was not the result of an intentional individual or collective act. Individual, corporate and weak collective responsibility; do we have duties to create/amend institutions?
Future generations and the Non Identity Problem
Climate change, disposal of environmental hazards, and justice to future generations. Consent revisited. 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?
The individual┐s dilemma: ┐What should I do?┐
┐What should I do?┐ Individual duties in the face of collective responsibility. The ┐no difference┐ problem. Kantian, consequentialist, virtue-based reasoning.
Mitigation versus adaptation
Justice and adaptation aid. Runaway climate change and the precautionary principle; is there a justifiable economic case against mitigation? Discounting: ethics v. economics.
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?
Beyond the human: justice, animals, and ecosystems
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.
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?
||Gardiner, S., Caney, S., Jamieson, D. & Shue, H. (2010). Climate Ethics: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. (Several articles on the reading list are reproduced in this book and students might find it useful to buy a copy.)
Jamieson, D. (2008). ┐Environment┐. In: Catriona McKinnon ed. Issues in Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2nd edition. 2012) (This provides an introductory overview)
Garvey, J. (2008). The Ethics of Climate Change: Right and Wrong in a Warming World. London, Continuum.
Gardiner, S. M. (2004). "Ethics and Global Climate Change." Ethics 114(3): 555-600.
Singer, P. (2002). One World: The Ethics of Globalization. New Haven & London, Yale University Press.
Brock, G. (2008). ┐Global Justice┐. In: Catriona McKinnon ed. Issues in Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2nd edition. 2012) (This provides an introductory overview of questions of global justice, which students should read who are not already familiar with that literature.)
|Course organiser||Dr Elizabeth Cripps
Tel: (0131 6)51 1948
|Course secretary||Mrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
© Copyright 2012 The University of Edinburgh - 14 January 2013 4:34 am