Department of Philosophy
Graduate Research Seminar

Virtue Ethics and Climate Change

This is a regular seminar in which graduate researchers (MA and PhD) will present their work. This week Emil Perron (MA) presents his work. All are welcome. 

Main content


With the developments of the Industrial Revolution, humanity entered the epoch of the Anthropocene where the human being now had the power to influence the climate and cause global, anthropogenic climate change. Simultaneous greenhouse gas emissions from a multitude of actors started to cause anthropogenic climate change. A new active and moral relation had been created between the human being and the climate. Previously, humans could only passively be subjected to the climate. Now, humans influence the climate, which in turn influences the lives of everyone on the planet. Climate change, this collective action problem, is caused by a multitude of individuals. However, it cannot be caused by one individual alone. Yet, all individuals partake in causing climate change. In my thesis I ask how character based virtue ethics could possibly answer to this novel and puzzling moral challenge that is the human-climate relation in the age of the Anthropocene. I will argue that in the time of climate change, virtue ethics needs to be rethought, and possibly modified, if it ever were to answer to the challenge.