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K-State Today

May 7, 2015



Philosophy professor Jonathan Herington to present work on climate change at ethics workshop.

By Teresa Zerbe

Jonathan Herington, professor of philosophy, published the paper "Climate Vulnerability and The Value of Security," which address concerns for proper procedure for choosing among ways of adapting to climate change.

He will present the paper at the second Workshop on Ethics and Adaptation: Loss, Damage and Harm, on May 8-9 at the University of Buffalo. 

The harms of climate change to future individuals are deeply uncertain. In particular, though climate change will render most individuals more vulnerable to harm, many individuals will not actually suffer climate-related harms — or will suffer only minor harms.

In this paper, Herington will argue that vulnerability to harms is itself a harm, because it undermines our enjoyment of the good of security. After some brief remarks on the concept of security, he will give three reasons for thinking that depriving an individual of the security of basic goods harms them: It has a strong contingent connection to fear and anxiety, it directly undermines their ability to make reasonable plans, and security may reasonably be valued as an end in itself. This suggests that one of our goals in determining climate adaptation policy, ought to be a distribution of benefits amongst possible outcomes that maximizes the security of basic goods.