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Living in Harm's Way: When Are Victims Responsible?

Uptown Campus


LBC room 202

Other location info: 

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UNO professeor Danny Shahar will be giving a talk on climate change and the ethics and philosophy surrounding it: 

Over the coming years, climate change will harm billions of people around the world. Yet, who is morally responsible for these harms? Intuitively, it would seem to be those who have caused climate change. But what if most of the eventual victims will have known about the dangers they faced and had decades to prepare? Will they also bear some responsibility for the choices they make that leave them exposed to harm? In this talk, Dan Shahar explores the complex issue of assigning responsibility for the long-term impacts of climate change. He claims that standard assessments of climate change impacts distort our understanding by exaggerating the moral significance of many climate-induced harms. In his view, the real problems associated with climate change involve people who cannot get out of harm’s way, whether because of poverty, lack of education, or legal and political obstacles to movement. He argues that properly attending to these issues would imply a new orientation for climate policy—one that focuses not on minimizing harm but rather on empowering people to choose what risks they will bear.

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