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Catastrophe Ethics: How to Choose Well in a World of Tough Choices

Catastrophe Ethics: How to Choose Well in a World of Tough Choices

ISBN: 9780593471975
  • Author: Rieder
  • Condition: VeryGood
Regular price $27.50 USD
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A warm, personal guide to building a strong ethical and moral compass in the midst of today's confusing, scary global problems

The moral challenges of today are unfamiliar in the history of philosophy. Climate change is the paradigm example of what Travis Rieder calls "The Puzzle" How do you make your everyday choices fit with what the planet urgently needs? How do we decide the right thing to do in the face of a massive collective challenge? Should you drink water from a plastic bottle or not? Drive a Tesla? Or is that just what Elon Musk and all the other corporations want you to think? What makes individual ethics difficult to think about in the case of catastrophic climate change makes ethics difficult to think about in many other contexts as well. The Puzzle, as Rieder explains, is everywhere now.

The chapters in this book include a lively, meaningful tour of traditional moral reasoning looking at the contributions of Plato, Hegel, and Kant, among others. But they could not grasp the Puzzle we now face. Old-fashioned exercises, like trolley problems involving sacrificing one person on this track for a bunch of people on the other, don't address the huge, consequential, and complex crises our global community faces today. The tools most of us unthinkingly rely on when we try to "do the right thing" don't help when it comes to reasoning about individual responsibility for large collective problems.

Expanding our suite of ethical concepts is now urgently required. Rieder defines exactly how to change our thinking, addressing mundane issues like bottled water and life-changing decisions like whether to have children. This is a way to live a morally decent life in our scary, always complicated world. It's how to build your own catastrophe ethics.
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