Climate change and hybrid ethics: a review of four ethical theories
Name: Mihae Ahn, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Title: Climate change and hybrid ethics: a review of four ethical theories
Abstract: The scope of the issue of climate change is truly global; hence, international climate negotiations have taken place for about 20 years but have seen no good results. Given that perceptions of climate change differs, and that eliciting consensus among all parties involved is a huge challenge, building hybrid ethics drawing on the common beliefs of various ethical theories) that can appeal to all human beings seems indispensable. As one small step toward hybrid ethics, I reviewed and compared four theories, utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, Taoism, and Confucianism. Concerns and cares for human beings and their well-being are the common beliefs of the four theories, which can be applied in the context of climate change and climate justice. Another unexpected commonality I found is that they all imply the cosmopolitan perspective. I was aware that utilitarianism and Kantianism are two varieties of cosmopolitanism; however, I was not expecting to find the cosmopolitan trait in Taoism and Confucianism. The commonalities of the four theories including the cosmopolitan perspective provides evidence of shared beliefs among these four ethics about what it is to be a human. Such common beliefs can help induce a sense of community as human beings that in turn can contribute to solving a global common issue such as climate change. Throughout the presentation, key arguments of the four theories are to be reviewed and compared, and what they can provide in climate-change debate is to be discussed.