632 research outputs found

    Value Commitment, Resolute Choice, and the Normative Foundations of Behavioural Welfare Economics

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    Given the endowment effect, the role of attention in decision-making, and the framing effect, most behavioral economists agree that it would be a mistake to accept the satisfaction of revealed preferences as the normative criterion of choice. Some have suggested that what makes agents better off is not the satisfaction of revealed preferences, but ‘true’ preferences, which may not always be observed through choice. While such preferences may appear to be an improvement over revealed preferences, some philosophers of economics have argued that they face insurmountable epistemological, normative, and methodological challenges. This article introduces a new kind of true preference – values-based preferences – that blunts these challenges. Agents express values-based preferences when they choose in a manner that is compatible with a consumption plan grounded in a value commitment that is normative, affective, and stable for the agent who has one. Agents who choose according to their plans are resolute choosers. My claim is that while values-based preferences do not apply to every choice situation, this kind of preference provides a rigorous way for thinking about classic choice situations that have long interested behavioral economists and philosophers of economics, such as ‘Joe-in-the-cafeteria.

    What is Natural about Natural Capital during the Anthropocene?

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    The concept of natural capital denotes a rich variety of natural processes, such as ecosystems, that produce economically valuable goods and services. The Anthropocene signals a diminished state of nature, however, with some scholars claiming that no part of the Earth’s surface remains untouched. What are ecological economists to make of natural capital during the Anthropocene? Is natural capital still a coherent concept? What is the conceptual relationship between nature and natural capital? This article wrestles with John Stuart Mill’s two concepts of nature and argues that during the Anthropocene, natural capital should be understood as denoting economically valuable processes that are not absolutely—but relatively—detached from intentional human agency

    Virtual Consumption, Sustainability & Human Well-Being

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    There is widespread consensus that present patterns of consumption could lead to the permanent impossibility of maintaining those patterns and, perhaps, the existence of the human race. While many patterns of consumption qualify as ‘sustainable’ there is one in particular that deserves greater attention: virtual consumption. We argue that virtual consumption — the experience of authentic consumptive experiences replicated by alternative means — has the potential to reduce the deleterious consequences of real consumption by redirecting some consumptive behavior from shifting material states to shifting information states

    Situating Environmental Philosophy in Canada

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    The volume includes topics from political philosophy and normative ethics on the one hand to philosophy of science and the philosophical underpinnings of water management policy on the other. It contains reflections on ecological nationalism, the legacy of Grey Owl, the meaning of ‘outside’ to Canadians, the paradigm shift from mechanism to ecology in our understanding of nature, the meaning of the concept of the Anthropocene, the importance of humans self-identifying as ‘earthlings’, the challenges of biodiversity protection and the status of cross-bred species, how to ground the moral considerability of ecosystems, the collapse of the Newfoundland and Labrador cod fishery, and much more. It covers metaphysics, ontology, ethics, political philosophy, critical history, and environmental policy. The range of topics and frames is as diverse and challenging as the land itself

    The Eroding Artificial/Natural Distinction: Some Consequences for Ecology and Economics

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    Since Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), historians and philosophers of science have paid increasing attention to the implications of disciplinarity. In this chapter we consider restrictions posed to interdisciplinary exchange between ecology and economics that result from a particular kind of commitment to the ideal of disciplinary purity, that is, that each discipline is defined by an appropriate, unique set of objects, methods, theories, and aims. We argue that, when it comes to the objects of study in ecology and economics, ideas of disciplinary purity have been underwritten by the artificial-natural distinction. We then problematize this distinction, and thus disciplinary purity, both conceptually and empirically. Conceptually, the distinction is no longer tenable. Empirically, recent interdisciplinary research has shown the epistemological and policy-oriented benefits of dealing with models which explicitly link anthropogenic (i.e., “artificial”) and non-anthropogenic factors (i.e., “natural”). We conclude that, in the current age of the Anthropocene, it is to be expected that without interdisciplinary exchange, ecology and economics may relinquish global relevance because the distinct and separate systems to which each “pure” science was originally made to apply will only diminish over time

    On the Concept and Conservation of Critical Natural Capital

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    Ecological economics is an interdisciplinary science that is primarily concerned with developing interventions to achieve sustainable ecological and economic systems. While ecological economists have, over the last few decades, made various empirical, theoretical, and conceptual advancements, there is one concept in particular that remains subject to confusion: critical natural capital. While critical natural capital denotes parts of the environment that are essential for the continued existence of our species, the meaning of terms commonly associated with this concept, such as ‘non-substitutable’ and ‘impossible to substitute,’ require a clearer formulation then they tend to receive. With the help of equations and graphs, this article develops new definite account of critical natural capital that makes explicit what it means for objective environmental conditions to be essential for continued existence. The second main part of this article turns to the question of formally modeling the priority of conserving critical natural capital. While some ecological economists have maintained that, beyond a certain threshold, critical natural capital possesses absolute infinite value, absolute infinite utility models encounter significant problems. This article shows that a relative infinite utility model provides a better way to model the priority of conserving critical natural capital

    The Preservation Paradox and Natural Capital

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    Many ecological economists have argued that some natural capital should be preserved for posterity. Yet, among environmental philosophers, the preservation paradox entails that preserving parts of nature, including those denoted by natural capital, is impossible. The paradox claims that nature is a realm of phenomena independent of intentional human agency, that preserving and restoring nature require intentional human agency, and, therefore, no one can preserve or restore nature (without making it artificial). While this article argues that the preservation paradox is more difficult to resolve than ordinarily recognized, it also concludes by sketching a positive way to understand what it means to preserve natural capital during the Anthropocene

    On Aristotle's Natural Limit

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