Are philosophers responsible for global warming?

Nicholas Maxwell (2008) Are philosophers responsible for global warming?, Philosophy Now, issue 65, pp. 12-13. Available online at

Global warming has come about as a result of rapid population increase plus our whole modern way of life, all made possible by modern science. In order to tackle global warming successfully, we need a new kind of inquiry that gives intellectual priority to tackling problems of living over problems of knowledge. If we had had this new kind of inquiry fifty years ago, we might have begun to do something about global warming long ago, in the early 1960s, when Keeling first discovered that carbon dioxide was increasing in the atmosphere. Our long-standing failure to respond to global warming is in part due to our failure to develop a genuinely rigorous kind of inquiry devoted to helping us tackle our global problems, which is, in turn, a philosophical failure. Philosophers are responsible for global warming to the extent that they have failed to highlight this philosophical blunder inherent in academia in part responsible for our tardy response to global warming.

(My publication)Posted:May 31 2008, 06:00 PM by NickMaxwell
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