• Andrew M
    770
    But it makes comments about the error on the following posts confusing.Brett

    You would just provide appropriate context if need be. For example, include an asterisk next to the correction and at the bottom of the post note the original mistake and perhaps credit Janus for pointing it out. That's the kind of thing news articles do (including, as it happens, the NY Magazine article you linked to).
  • Brett
    1.1k

    I'd just refer to the scientists that study such things, and then perhaps ask: What's the worst that can happen if we (try to) do something about it? And weighed against the risks of doing nothing?jorndoe

    I thought I just did that.
  • iolo
    171
    It doesn't need much philosophy, surely? We are going to destroy our species quite soon by altering the climate to keep capitalism. The majority of people, for reasons not clear to me, prefer to stay alive.
    What's the problem?
  • Janus
    8.7k
    I agree with what you say here. certainly academic philosophy is irrelevant. I don't know if you would call it "philosophy" but clearheaded critical thinking would seem to be essential, though.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    This OP was not meant to address climate change as a discussion about it being real or not, or as a clear-headed discussion. It was to ask others to address it from their perspective as an economist, or sociologist, or psychology, whatever their interest. In some ways it’s the work of your imagination. Maybe this isn’t the place for that. Let me know.
  • Janus
    8.7k
    So, do you mean to ask people how and what, from their economic, sociological, psychological or whatever perspectives, they think and feel about climate change? And you're not asking for proposed economic, sociological, psychological or whatever solutions?

    If you are asking for solutions from particular perspectives I would say they could only ever be partial solutions. So, for example, economics needs to revise its notion of externalities, and become an ecological discipline that incorporates energy and entropy into all its models.

    As to practical help they might offer sociology would need to develop new understandings and models of collective human behavior in crisis situations. Psychologists could play a role in helping people to cope and function under the stresses that come with crisis.

    On the other hand mere theory won't be of much use: I don't think it could be helpful if, for example, sociological thinkers were to propose that climate change is merely another socially constructed discourse, or if psychologists were to assert that it is nothing more than an apocalyptic fantasy created by our primal fears.

    As to whether this is "the place for this" I would say "why not?"; there's nothing wrong with thrashing all this stuff out, in fact it needs to be done honestly. clearly and critically, without succumbing to fears and wishful thinking, if the much-needed globally coordinated effort is to be possible. Polemical arguments won't be of much help, to say the least.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    So, do you mean to ask people how and what, from their economic, sociological, psychological or whatever perspectives, they think and feel about climate change? And you're not asking for proposed economic, sociological, psychological or whatever solutions?Janus

    Correct. First of all I don’t believe that anyone here could offer a solution anyway. Opinions maybe, but we know they’re not the same, though there are many who think they are.

    The amount of existential dread in the OP “Is halting climate change beyond man’s ability?”, is it real or some indulgence of the mind of the bloated 21st century consumer, lost, unmoored, insecure, not because of the threat of climate change but because there’s nothing left, no feeling, no beliefs to hold onto, no meaning; meaninglessness. Climate change gives people the existential jolt modern life has smothered.

    I don't think it could be helpful if, for example, sociological thinkers were to propose that climate change is merely another socially constructed discourse, or if psychologists were to assert that it is nothing more than an apocalyptic fantasy created by our primal fears.Janus

    That’s exactly what I’m suggesting. Not that climate change is “nothing more than an apocalyptic fantasy created by our primal fears”, which suggests climate change is not real. See, that’s why these sort of discussions won’t happen, because it’s construed as a climate denial tool, when in fact there is something going on there.

    Most people would receive their information about climate change from the media, less would do their own research. The media works on headlines, more on drama, less on information. Why not a discussion on primal fears, apocalyptic fantasies, why not look at possibilities? It’s not an attempt to deny something by running your fingers over it.

    What are the consequences of children believing we are heading for extinction? What ideas are forming in their minds right now, not just about climate change but forms we can’t even conceive of, of who they are, what we are, what we believe in, why we get up in the morning?

    Do you really imagine we can live in the simplistic state of mind where discussion over climate change is either agree or not and then cope with the complexities the world as it is presents to us and the future we’re moving into?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    My philosophical or biological view is that human beings have innate characteristics over which we have little control. Our problem is captured in the vulgarism that "a hard cock has no ethics" and applies equally to men and women (who of course, don't have one). With respect to global warming, we have a raging hard on for stuff. We are quite short sighted. We rarely look for long term consequences for any behavior. Our behavior is partially composed of very persistent habits. We like what we like without subjecting "likes" to rational analysis. People who "like elephant tusks and rhino horns" fuel a market that is close to destroying both. There are few innocent people in the First World. (Poor people are not better; they just don't have the means to be as guilty as us.).

    "What we are, we are." Descended from a common ancestor, we are closely related to the big primates like Pan Troglodytes (chimps and bonobos). The other primates don't have our problems because they are not quite smart enough. We have become smart enough, and acquired a lot of technology that enables our reach to exceed our grasp.

    We are the sorcerer's apprentice: we cast a spell, the spell is causing problems, and we can't bring ourselves to undo the spell (we could, but we apparently won't) because we kind of like what the spell is doing.

    We could save our world. You know, we really should do that. Will we? Probably not. The consequences of global warming are not quite as vivid in our minds as the consequences of behaving like responsible, prudent, thrifty human beings who can well imagine that the minor horror of not consuming so much stuff is trivial compared to the gross horror that billions of people now alive will witness.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    We are the sorcerer's apprentice: we cast a spell, the spell is causing problems, and we can't bring ourselves to undo the spell (we could, but we apparently won't) because we kind of like what the spell is doing.Bitter Crank

    Yes, just who the hell are we, what are we? Maybe not as smart as we think, maybe this is all we are. Truth comes first. Like “My names Jim, I’m an alcoholic”. “My names Jim, I’m a human”.

    Edit: not because I mess things up, but because I’m more like the centipede.
  • Brett
    1.1k
    Just a thought here;

    If children are taught in school about climate change on the basis that it’s real, without question, and they must be educated this way to save the world, what does that mean for critical thinking in school and the future? Critical thinking when we say so, otherwise don’t.
  • Janus
    8.7k
    Critical thinking when we say so, otherwise don’t.Brett

    There's no point criticising scientific consensus on climate change from the layperson's position of relative ignorance. We don't have time for such shit. If you do educate yourself, so as to try to step a little out of your ignorance, and yet are not yourself a climate researcher or scientist, what sources do you think you will be relying upon for your edification?
  • Brett
    1.1k


    So then, a future without critical thinking if we are to survive; no time for “ such shit.” So we survive as what?
  • Janus
    8.7k
    I haven't said that. I have said that if all we have to draw upon on in order to educate ourselves about climate change is the work of climate scientists, and those scientists are in agreement about climate change, then from what position of alternative knowledge would you be able to criticise their conclusions?

    To see that we must rely upon the experts is a realization that comes precisely from exercising critical thought. It is the uncritical who indulge in denial, deflection, obfuscation and wishful thinking.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I haven't said that. I have said that if all we have to draw upon on in order to educate ourselves about climate change is the work of climate scientists, and those scientists are in agreement about climate change, then from what position of alternative knowledge would you be able to criticise their conclusions?Janus

    Well a teacher would allow that there are scientists who do not agree, and would show that there is disagreement, so that they understand the truth presented to them, so that they use their minds in the way we expect of everyone. The teacher would create an environment of curiosity and discussion. Doesn’t the opposition of something sometimes prove the thing to be right? Modern education is based on critical thinking, it’s the cornerstone of western civilisation.

    I’m just suggesting that if you put critical thinking on hold in schools then expect consequences. Maybe you think it’s worth it to do this, but don’t imagine there not to be knock on effects.


    To see that we must rely upon the experts is a realization that comes precisely from exercising critical thought. It is the uncritical who indulge in denial, deflection, obfuscation and wishful thinking.Janus

    No, that’s not a realisation, that’s acquiescence to authority. How can anyone learn about critical thinking without doing it themselves?

    It is the uncritical who indulge in denial, deflection, obfuscation and wishful thinking.Janus

    Thats an interesting point in itself in relation to critical thinking. It’s a loaded statement meant to steer people away from critical thinking. What is there to fear so much in students applying critical thinking to climate change? Do you think they’re not smart enough to do it? If so then it follows that they’re not smart enough to do any critical thinking.

    This is part of the point of my OP. Is education now going to be based on fear, because of the necessity? Is that what climate change will contribute to education in the long run and consequently to the nature of our students?
  • Janus
    8.7k
    Well a teacher would allow that there are scientists who do not agree, and would show that there is disagreement, so that they understand the truth presented to them, so that they use their minds in the way we expect of everyone.Brett

    Can you present any reasoned disagreement in relation to the idea that humans have contributed to global warming, and that the burning of enormous quantities of fossil fuels over the last few hundred years is responsible for the current acceleration of global warming? If not then you are just talking through your hat.

    No, that’s not a realisation, that’s acquiescence to authority. How can anyone learn about critical thinking without doing it themselves?Brett

    Of course you have to do critical thinking yourself. But where, since you are not yourself a climate scientist, are you going to get the information upon which to exercise your critical thought if not from the experts. If there were significant disagreement among the experts then you would be in the uncomfortable layperson's position of finding it difficult to know what to believe, but since there is no significant disagreement what is there to be critical of, and where is the alternative understanding that might give you grounds for your criticism?

    It’s a loaded statement meant to steer people away from critical thinking.Brett

    That's bullshit; it's a statement meant to steer people away from "denial, deflection, obfuscation and wishful thinking" which are precisely some of the pitfalls you need to avoid to achieve critical thinking.
  • Spirit12
    26
    Which demographic is biggest threat to mounting human defence for climate change? Natural or man made?
  • Janus
    8.7k
    Do you mean that people of various ages are either natural or man made?
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I don’t think you’re able to talk about this in a reasoned way. So let’s leave it.
  • Pfhorrest
    592
    In regards to the subthread about deference to epistemic authority vs kooks and their baseless crazy speculation, may I suggest that there are parallels to the paradox of “anarchy” (lack of governance) giving rise to warlords (the worst kind of governance). I explore that in more detail in my essay On Academics, Education, and the Institutes of Knowledge.
  • Spirit12
    26
    Ha maybe in future with cloning! But no, I meant the climate change. Whether the climate change is man made or natural.
  • Janus
    8.7k
    Ah, Ok. It seems obvious that it's both natural and man made.
  • Jack Foreman
    12


    Is it possible that capitalism may largely contribute to solving the problem?
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Is it possible that capitalism may largely contribute to solving the problem?Jack Foreman

    Very possible I would think. Capitalism is very adaptive.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I had a read of your essay. Very interesting and relevant to this OP. Thanks for putting it up.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    Is it possible that capitalism may largely contribute to solving the problem?Jack Foreman

    Not so.

    Capital is largely responsible (it's the key) CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM. Why? The reason is that capitalism is, by its nature, based on exploitation of resources, growth, expansion, and profitability. Corporations are compelled by their charters, their raisons d'être, to behave the way they do, and can not do otherwise. Exxon has no reason under the sun to not pump as much oil as it can, driving out competitors, and maximizing profits.

    On earth we have thousands of corporations pursuing their chartered purpose for existence, and industry requires unlimited energy--coal, oil, gas, and nuclear (and a tiny fraction of wind & solar). Thus we rush to over-run the 2ºC average temperature goal, with CO2 levels currently at 407 ppm (57 ppm above the safe level of 350).

    Most of the people who populate corporations are not individually evil people. They don't have to be obsessed by greed; they might love the natural world (a major personal contradiction). They may, in their hearts, care about the future of the world. It doesn't matter. They are not at their jobs to worry about vanishing species; they are there to make money -- which is the only purpose corporations have for existing--make stuff and sell it at a profit.

    What could capitalism do? Nothing, really. Our best option to enhance survival is to immediately and sharply reduce consumption of goods--everything from clothing to cars, gasoline to cheese curds. Consumption of stuff accounts to about 70% of the GDP. Why does cutting consumption help? Reduced consumption = reduced production = reduced output of CO2 and methane.

    We don't have a lot of time. The world (including capitalists) has known about the threat to the world for at least 30 years (1988-present) and has so far accomplished virtually nothing towards reducing CO2 output.

    Very possible I would think. Capitalism is very adaptive.Brett

    Indeed. When Standard Oil (or Exxon) scientists discovered that CO2 levels were rising as a result of burning fossil fuels, the corporation considered the problem, and made the logical choice for an adaptable corporation: they buried the research and embarked on a program of confusing the public about global warming with the same methods tobacco companies used to confuse the public about the harms of smoking their product.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    I wasn’t saying they were moral, only that they were adaptive. I think it’s a very interesting idea that Capitalism may contribute towards solving the climate problem simply because they do what is pragmatic in their interests. Having a market is oxygen to them. Why let your market become extinct? They need consumers, they need employees. They will adapt to survive. Even though I don’t believe it for a minute, corporations are beginning to play the virtual signalling game. That’s an adaptive change, not much, sure, but a change brought on by necessity..
  • Jack Foreman
    12
    I’m new to this forum and have enjoyed reading this discussion. Thank you for posting the topic. I am a teacher also, and think the tone regarding consensus and those who wish to further discuss or question the consensus is concerning given all the historical examples of a consensus of experts being very wrong. It seems that how and why we solve the problem, assuming it is a problem and that it is ours to solve; is very much within the realm of philosophy. And, I imagine discussions like these may very likely contribute to the good of others. I wonder if there are underlying issues that must continue to be addressed and resolved if we are to get anywhere on the climate, again assuming we could or should. Whether you are a theist or anti-theist, believer in free will or determinism an argument could be logically made that the world is as it should be. That is the philosophical question that has been nagging at me for a while. I wonder if the state of things in the world/universe are meant to be as they are for a reason. I am a believer in purpose and reasons for things. Perhaps climate change is a problem better solved by diverting to more basic issues such as why and how we ought to love each other.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Whether you are a theist or anti-theist, believer in free will or determinism an argument could be logically made that the world is as it should be. That is the philosophical question that has been nagging at me for a while. I wonder if the state of things in the world/universe are meant to be as they are for a reason. I am a believer in purpose and reasons for things. Perhaps climate change is a problem better solved by diverting to more basic issues such as why and how we ought to love each other.Jack Foreman

    You make an interesting point. I can’t help but feel that all the finger pointing is diverting attention away from important issues that are suddenly deemed irrelevant”. Why the finger pointing? It’s as if we all want an enemy, someone we can blame for all the areas we may have fallen short on, like community, family, caring, sharing and loving.
  • Jack Foreman
    12
    You make an interesting point. I can’t help but feel that all the finger pointing is diverting attention away from important issues that are suddenly deemed irrelevant”. Why the finger pointing? It’s as if we all want an enemy, someone we can blame for all the areas we may have fallen short on, like community, family, caring, sharing and loving.Brett

    Yes I agree, assuming the climate was doing fantastic and all else was proceeding as is I’m not sure we’d really have less to be concerned over. It’s odd how on so many fronts we see to be more and more polarized. I feel as if a storm is brewing or a battle. I pray we’ll help each other through wisdom to weather the storm. If a battle is coming I’ll put my trust in the belief that all things can and do work together for good and try to do what is good for others. Part of that is probably learning to point the finger in the right direction: at ourselves.
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