Philosophy - Journal Articles

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    A dynamic collapse concept for climate change
    (SAGE Publishing, 2024-05-25) Steel, Daniel; Belotti, Giulia; Mittiga, Ross; Mintz-Woo, Kian; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    Despite growing interest in risks of societal collapse due to anthropogenic climate change, there exists no consensus about how collapse should be understood. In this article, we critically examine existing definitions and argue that none adequately address the challenges for conceptualizing collapse that climate change presents. We therefore propose an alternative conception, which regards collapse as a reduction of collective capacity resulting in a pervasive and difficult-to-reverse loss of basic functionality. Our conception is dynamic in that it focuses on the interrelations of constituent subsystems. It also distinguishes collapse from transformations needed to address climate change and provides insight into the relationship between collapse and sustainability.
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    A directional dilemma in climate innovation
    (Taylor & Francis, 2024-05-09) Mintz-Woo, Kian
    One branch of the responsible innovation literature involves the direction of innovation: if the public or decision-makers can or should direct innovation, how should innovation be directed? This paper explicates a case study where directionality -- the plurality of plausible values for innovation -- is directly implicated. In this case, a key technology may require a strategy for innovation, but there are contrasting normative reasons to drive that innovation in different ways, reflecting two distinct moral values, `effectiveness' and responsiveness to `need'. In this case, carbon dioxide removal, these values may well conflict. Strategically deploying carbon dioxide removal in a cost-effective manner would tend to support siting it in regions where there are significant oil and gas operations (e.g. North America, Europe and the Middle East). In contrast, strategically deploying carbon dioxide removal in response to need would tend to support siting it in regions where expected demand for the technology is required for development (e.g. Asia). Scholars ought to be aware that adopting directionality in innovation is only the start; which values to endorse can have crucial practical implications.
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    A forward-looking approach to climate change and the risk of societal collapse
    (Elsevier, 2024-03-08) Steel, Daniel; Phillips, Charly; Giang, Amanda; Mintz-Woo, Kian; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    This article proposes a forward-looking approach to studying societal collapse risks related to climate change. Such an approach should indicate how to study emerging collapse risks and suggest strategies for adapting to them. Our approach is based on three postulates that facilitate a forward-looking approach: (1) collapse, if it occurred, would be a lengthy process rather than an abrupt event; (2) significant collapse risks already exist in some places; and (3) diminishing returns on adaptation to intensifying climate impacts are a key driver of collapse risks. The first two postulates suggests that collapse risks can be studied in process, while the third points to strategies for adaptation pathways that avoid unsustainable diminishing returns. Applying diminishing returns to climate change adaptation, rather than sociopolitical complexity or resource extraction, is also a novel theoretical contribution to collapse literature.
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    Group identification, joint attention, and preferences: a cluster of minimal pre-conditions for joint actions
    (Routledge, 2024-01-18) Salice, Alessandro
    An important thesis discussed in the literature on shared agency is that group identification motivates pre-school children to act together. This paper aims at further illuminating this thesis by clarifying what triggers the process of group identification in young children. It is argued that joint attention, among other functions in supporting joint actions, can reveal to the co-attenders that they share some preferences. Since sharing preferences has been established by the literature to be a reliable motivation of group identification and since joint attention has an early emergence in development, one can consider joint attention to be a putative trigger of group identification in pre-school children. If this is on the right track, group identification, joint attention, and preferences identify a cluster of minimal pre-conditions for joint actions.
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    Justice considerations in climate research
    (2024) Zimm, Caroline; Mintz-Woo, Kian; Brutschin, Elina; Hanger-Kopp, Susanne; Hoffmann, Roman; Kikstra, Jarmo S.; Kuhn, Michael; Min, Jihoon; Muttarak, Raya; Pachauri, Shonali; Patange, Omkar; Riahi, Keywan; Schinko, Thomas
    Climate change and decarbonization raise complex justice questions that researchers and policymakers must address. The distributions of greenhouse gas emissions rights and mitigation efforts have dominated justice discourses within scenario research, an integrative element of the IPCC. However, the space of justice considerations is much larger. At present, there is no consistent approach to comprehensively incorporate and examine justice considerations. Here we propose a conceptual framework grounded in philosophical theory for this purpose. We apply this framework to climate mitigation scenarios literature as proof of concept, enabling a more holistic and multidimensional investigation of justice. We identify areas of future research, including new metrics of service provisioning essential for human well-being.