Provocation

We have a moral vocabulary of democratic citizenship, and a moral vocabulary of environmental sustainability – but can our ethics encompass both in harmony?

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Robert Seddon believes that while the ethics underpinning western liberal democracy tend to be based on individuals, we only extend this concern to, for example, animals if we see them sharing morally significant traits. And broader ecological problems, are systemic, and not easily divided.

Tensions arise between these different conceptual foundations. There seems to be hostility to any vision which “subsumes the individual human being into a greater whole”, as a defence against popular tyranny. He argues that we need to develop a moral vocabulary which can square this conceptual circle.

Robert Seddon, July 2013

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