Re-Engineering Environmentalism for Limited Beings: Liberalism, Naturalism and Environmentalism in the Anthropocene
Title: Re-Engineering Environmentalism for Limited Beings
Subtitle: Liberalism, Naturalism and Environmentalism in the Anthropocene
Subject Classification: Climate Change, Sustainability, Philosophy, Society and Culture
BIC Classification: RB, RN
BISAC Classification: SCI092000, POL044000, SCI101000
Binding: Hardback, pp.(to be confirmed)
Planned Publication date: May 2025
ISBN (printed book): 978-1-80441-318-0
ISBN (web pdf): 978-1-80441-319-7
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Why are we failing to make meaningful progress on mitigating and adapting to climate change? A standard reply - all too easy for academics to endorse - is that we understand the problem theoretically, but practical political problems are hard to solve for all the usual practical, political reasons. This book challenges this narrative. Tensions in the philosophical assumptions of climate change activism must be resolved before practical policy choices can be coherently implemented. The book draws attention to basic trade-offs between three broad ideological commitments, all of which seem indispensable, but which don’t ‘play well’ together as a trio: liberalism, environmentalism, and philosophical naturalism.
It is argued that a reconciliation of these ideological commitments will require greater humility, and some toothy concessions, on the part of liberals, environmentalists, and even naturalists of an activist bent. What we need is politically defensible, ecologically sustainable policy that does not implicitly rely on supernatural (or superhuman) interventions, as current policy options do. Successful environmental policy must acknowledge not only planetary limits, but also the natural limits of human agency in a liberal world.
There is a wealth of natural scientific analysis of climate change and ecology, as well as a vast literature of the economics, sociology, and political science of environmental governance. Yet there is a surprising gap in the literature: a lack of systematic efforts to examine the intersection of philosophy of science, including the human sciences, ethics, and environmental governance in the Anthropocene. This book seeks to address that gap.
Author: Morgan Tait is Adjunct Professor, School of Environment and Resource Studies and Special Lecturer, Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is also a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at King’s University College, University of Western Ontario.
This title is currently being reviewed. Please check back for further updates in due course.