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Judgements in Equilibrium?: An Ethical Analysis of Environmental Impacts Assessment
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the end of the 1960s the questions of what duties current generations owe towards future generations and what duties human beings owe towards natural entities have been increasingly discussed within ethics. A new subdiscipline - environmental ethics - has emerged that especially focuses on these moral issues. However, the debate within environmental ethics has had rather lirtle effect on policy-making. The aim of this dissertation is to examine what relevance environmental ethics has for environmental politics. The empirical starting-point is an analysis of which moral beliefs underlie environmental impact assessment (EIA) in Sweden. First an analysis of the moral beliefs in Swedish political documents on EIA is carried out. The moral beliefs in a case study of a Swedish EIA, the project to build the Öresund Bridge, are also examined.

The empirical part of the dissertation is followed by an analytical part in which the method of wide reflective equilibrium is employed. The aim of this method is to study the relationship between particular moral judgements, ethical principles and background theories, i.e. more abstract beliefs. The relationship between the moral beliefs in the studieddocuments and ethical principles is first analysed. An analysis of the relationship between the ethical principles the moral beliefs are coherent with and different background theories is then carried out in order to examine whether these ethical principles can be further supported. Finally, the dissertation discusses what consensus-based ethical principlesfor environmental impact assessment may look like. The theoretical starting-point here is John Rawls' idea of an overlapping consensus between different comprehensive doctrines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2001. , 203 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 235
Keyword [en]
environmental ethics, reflective equilibrium, John Rawls, overlapping consensus, environmental politics, environmental impact assessment
Keyword [sv]
miljöetik, miljöpolitik, etik, miljö, naturskydd
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29579Local ID: 14955ISBN: 91-7373-092-0OAI: diva2:250396
Public defence
2001-11-09, Hörsalen, Hus Key, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-08-28Bibliographically approved

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Melin, Anders
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