Climate Change, Hybrids and Applied Ethics: An Explorative Guide to Setting Policy

Climate Change, Hybrids and Applied Ethics: An Explorative Guide to Setting Policy

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Normative ethics is a central part of the philosophical exploration of ethical theories and is the study of what is right and wrong (Encyclopedia Britannica). Its study is a powerful tool in determining the basis and course of moral actions as it explores moral choices rather than the language or origins of morality; for this reason it falls under the category of applied ethics. While normative ethics is a broad term that encompasses many schools of thought, it is generally thought to be broken down into three categories: the school of virtue ethics, deontology and teleology (or consequentialism). Virtue ethics is exemplified by Aristotle’s view of ethics and can be briefly summarized as pointing to moral character and virtuous living as the right thing to do. This delineates it from the deontological schools (e.g.; Kant’s Categorical Imperative) which emphasize certain rules or obligations which are necessarily moral for reasons separated from people and consequences. Consequentialism focuses on the consequences of the actions to judge moral value; utilitarianism is an example of this school and states that the right thing to do is what maximizes overall utility (Hursthouse, Rosalind, Stanford Encylopedia). These different branches are often philosophically challenged in discourse and also in real life examples of moral dilemmas. Their distinct approaches to judging morality in our world make them mutually exclusive theories. However, in application, our world presents us with moral situations that are often so convoluted that strictly adhering to one of these theories can create serious moral dilemmas. An important case is how humans should approach the problem of global climate change. Evidence points to the majority ...


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