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Epistemology and Climate Change


Coady, D, Epistemology and Climate Change, The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology, Routlege, M Fricker, PJ Graham, D Henderson, NJLL Pedersen (ed), New York, pp. 466-473. ISBN 9781138858510 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2020 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.4324/9781315717937


Referring to public and academic debate about climate change, Philip Kitcher has said that it is "an embarrassment that philosophers have not contributed more to this necessary conversation" (2010: 6). This is not entirely fair. There are philosophers who have made important contributions to this conversation, the vast majority of these contributions, however, come from a single area of philosophy: ethics. This is unfortunate since public and academic debate about climate change is certainly not restricted in this way. Much of it (perhaps most of it) is about epistemic issues, rather than ethical issues. In other words, it is about what we should believe and what we can know, rather than about what we should do or how we should live. Epistemic questions are not only prominent in the public debate about climate change, they are also, in a clear sense, logically prior to the ethical questions. As Rousseau observed, "what one ought to do depends largely on what one ought to believe" (1782: Third Walk). For these reasons, it is clear that epistemologists qua epistemologists (and not merely in their capacity as global citizens) are obliged to contribute to the debate about climate change.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:climate change, epistemology
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Epistemology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Coady, D (Dr David Coady)
ID Code:134379
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-08-09
Last Modified:2020-09-11

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