VIDEOCAST – Climate Ethics, Avram Hiller and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Avram Hiller (left) and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (right) on anthropogenic climate change.

Earth’s climate is changing as a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). How much of this is your fault? For instance, suppose you go on a Sunday drive in a gas-guzzling car just for fun. Then have you done any harm? Sinnott-Armstrong argues (starting at 9:43) that such an action is utterly harmless. But Hiller argues that every GHG-emitting activity—even one Sunday drive—is quantifiably harmful. After discussing their disagreement, Hiller and Sinnott-Armstrong consider a range of other philosophical issues related to climate change: the moral significance of nature (25:32); the ethics of species destruction (31:03); the influence of evolution on our moral intuitions (41:33); and the connections between global warming and global poverty (52:54).

Related works

by Hiller:
Climate Change and Individual Responsibility” (2011)
Morally Significant Effects of Ordinary Actions” (2011)

by Sinnott-Armstrong:
It’s Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations,” in Sinnott-Armstrong and Howarth (eds.), Perspectives on Climate Change: Science, Economics, Politics, Ethics, Vol. 5 (2005)