I just gave a talk in a workshop at the university of Leeds, for the UK Energy Research Centre, called New Fuels, New Rules. It was, according to the bumpf: “an interdisciplinary exploration into the impact of low carbon passenger vehicles on society and aims to bring together experts involved in the development and implementation of low carbon vehicle fleets”. Here’s the talk (new fuels new rules sept 2012) — it’s just an argument for the idea that we know a lot more about how our tools work than how we ought to use them. A similar point is made about climate change — as a culture, we’ve got something of a grip on the science, politics, and economics of climate change, even a grip on the technology we might use to do something about it, but when the moral dimension of climate change is mentioned, well, that’s it. It’s merely mentioned. There’s no depth yet.
I’ve had a few experiences as “the ethicist” in a room full of experts on something else who haven’t thought a lot about the ethical implications of what it is they do. It’s fascinating and rewarding (for me anyway), but there’s a real danger of being mistaken for a moral expert — a person who knows more than most about making good moral choices.
If someone were a lecturer in English literature, would you expect her to write excellent s0nnets?