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Adaptation as the heart of Environmental Ethics for the Anthropocene

Date: 3:30pm - 5:00pm PDT October 25, 2013 Location: JRHH 202

JRHH 202

Please join us for a talk by Allen Thompson from Oregon State University.


In this paper I outline a broad understanding of adaptation to environmental change, regardless of cause, and argue that such a concept must have a key role in any environmental ethic suitable to the emerging Anthropocene epoch. Since it’s inception, the preservation of nature, either for its intrinsic or instrumental value, has provided the central normative orientation for environmental ethics. On my view, the future of environmental ethics – in light not only of climate change but also other radical anthropogenic environmental changes – will focus more and more on normative questions about adapting our humanity, both individually and collectively – to the conditions of life on Earth for which we, as humanity, are causally responsible. My thesis is that the future of environmental ethics will be about living well at the end of nature, about adapting ourselves and the rest of life to the world that we are morally responsible for. 

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