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Conservative and Conservationist Sufficiency

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018. 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Y2E2, Room 105
Workshop: 
The Environmental Humanities Project
Meeting Description: 

We have a set of moral principles with which to discuss social problems: to seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number (utility), to ensure that some people are not worse off than others through no fault of their own (equality), and/or to ensure that everybody has enough (sufficiency). The paper explains why the problem of climate change and ecological conservation for future generations present specific challenges that make the application of traditional principles like utility and equality implausible. So the majority of philosophers of intergenerational justice have argued for sufficiency, but the way in which they apply it produces results that environmentalists cannot accept. For example, it permits continued environmental destruction until we come to a point where we are leaving our descendants without enough. Moral philosopher Paula Casal has found another way of interpreting the sufficiency principle that she believes captures environmentalists' intuition better than all the other moral doctrines. This new principle, which Casal calls “conservationist sufficiency,” overcomes the problems the traditional principles encounter.

Paula Casal is professor of moral and political philosophy at ICREA (Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies) and at the Law School of Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She received her PhD in philosophy from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, supervised by G.A. Cohen at Oxford, and has held research fellowships at Harvard University, Oxford University, and Université Catholique de Louvain, as well as lectureships at Reading University and Keele University. She is an associate editor of politics, philosophy and economics, co-editor of law ethics and philosophy, president of “Academics Stand Against Poverty - Spain” and “The Great Ape Project - Spain,” and co-director of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Center for Animal Ethics. Casal’s work has appeared in such journals as Ethics, Economics and Philosophy, Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Hypatia, Political Studies, and Utilitas.

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