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Author Fredericks, Sarah Elaine
Title Environmental ethics across worldviews: An assessment of sustainable energy development indexes
book jacket
Descript 577 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-01, Section: A, page: 0244
Adviser: Wesley J. Wildman
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University, 2008
Humans are now able to interact with the environment on a global scale; the effects of our actions can be large and long-lasting. With such power, questions of how we should act toward the environment are important. Rigorous dialogue between the sciences and multiple ethical worldviews can enhance efforts to answer such questions. The analysis of multiple moral systems identifies ideals that can guide environmental action. The sciences identify consequences of such actions
This dissertation studies five ethical systems: the United Nation's Agenda for the Twenty-First Century; the work of James A. Nash, a Christian ethicist who draws upon the natural law tradition; the work of Othman Abd-ar-Rahman Llewellyn, a scholar of Islamic law; the work of Richard Sylvan and David Bennett, scholars who philosophically enrich deep ecology; and "The Earth Charter," a non-governmental document. A comparison of these ethical systems yields seven ethical principles with cross-cultural standing: an adequate assessment of the situation, responsibility, justice, adaptability, farsightedness, careful use, and a balance between idealism and feasibility. Using these principles allows individuals to remain faithful to their own ethical tradition while operating within widely agreed-upon ethical norms
The value of the ethical principles is assessed in relation to the pressing practical and theoretical problem of sustainable energy development. Since energy use is necessary for all human activity, improving the sustainability of energy use facilitates sustainability in general. The dissertation argues that (i) the tension between ethical and technical aspects of sustainability explains much of the controversy over definitions of sustainability and sustainable development; (ii) the ethical principles generate valuable critiques of indexes of sustainable energy development (tools used to assess energy use); and (iii) the deliberate use of these principles can ensure that technical measures of energy sustainability align with moral priorities
The mutual influence of ethical principles and technical knowledge, including index development, illustrates how religious-moral worldviews and the sciences can relate effectively in academia and in the public sphere to strengthen each contributing discipline and to help resolve environmental crises
School code: 0017
DDC
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 69-01A
Subject Religion, General
Philosophy
Environmental Sciences
0318
0422
0768
Alt Author Boston University
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