Monthly Archives: March 2011

Nudge Nudge

Just back from an interesting two-day conference in Lancaster called Climate Change and Philosophy at the Tipping Point.  Here’s the brief:

Anthropogenic global warming is certainly occurring. Over the coming decades, one of the key issues that will face humanity is how to deal with it. This conference asks: Is it now too late to stop runaway climate change? Or are we still in with a chance? Either way, can philosophy help?

Here’s my talk.  I suppose I took the question, can philosophy help, at least a little seriously.  I don’t think philosophy can save the planet, but I suspect that how we think about the world, what we value, has to have a role.  And what’s philosophy if not slow motion thinking about what matters to us?  In the paper I consider current efforts on the part of governments to steer people into action with marketing tactics and so called ‘nudge theory’.

I compare that with the force of moral arguments for action on climate change.  My point isn’t that moral philosophy can save us.  But I do think that there’s something about the practice of morality, maybe just the fact of it, that gives me a little hope.


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Communication and climate change

Off tomorrow to UEA for a day of talks about communication and climate change, some of it will be about and by Mayer Hillman.  I’m working on a paper on a similar topic for a talk next week at Lancaster — about nudges vs moral arguments and action on climate change.  There’s something in the Guardian about the so-called “nudge unit” here.

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Justice for Hedgehogs

Currently reading Dworkin on the view that “what truth is, life means, morality requires, and justice demands are different aspects of the same large question”.  He says that those who believe that there must be some property in the world that makes moral judgements true or false — some brute something in the universe, some morally charged particle — are searching for “morons”.

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First post

This is a posting test. When something interesting happens, I’ll mention it.

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